Twitter as a Social Recommendation Network

I’m a big fan of word-of-mouth and even rec­om­men­da­tion engines often pro­duce rel­e­vant and valu­able results. But no rec­om­men­da­tion engine will beat this rec­om­men­da­tion net­work — for­mer­ly known as microblog­ging tool — named Twit­ter.

Besides quite a few sto­ries told by friends I hap­pened to learn about the social rec­om­men­da­tion power of Twit­ter myself: A day before the East­er hol­i­days my espres­so machine decid­ed to pass away. She had a good life of rough­ly 15 years, vis­it­ed hos­pi­tal just three times and served us well. R.I.P.

After get­ting used to an espres­so part­ner it is dif­fi­cult to realign your­self. So what should I do? Screen hun­dreds of reviews on the net or ask some Ital­ian barista for advice? None of the two: I sub­mit­ted a tweet to my gen­tle fol­low­ers, ask­ing them for their advice regard­ing an espres­so (not cof­fee!) machine for less than 600 Euros.

Half a day later I had eight answers, pub­lic replies and direct mes­sages. Six of those came with links to and rec­om­men­da­tions of indi­vid­ual machines. All of them matched my con­di­tions (espresso/not cof­fee, less than 600 Euros). Addi­tion­al­ly they (cor­rect­ly) implied that the machine should a bar­gain; i.e. it should pro­duce good espres­so at a rea­son­able price tag. In their rec­om­men­da­tions my fol­low­ers even offered rea­sons for not rec­om­mend­ing other machines, as “will not rec­om­mend my own xyz because it’s error-prone”.

Pro­vid­ed with these links I ran through the machine’s descrip­tions and ordered one of those includ­ing an addi­tion­al cof­fee mill the same night with ama­zon. It arrived 24 hours later and my wife and our friends are more than sat­is­fied with the results which are not opti­mized yet. 

Twit­ter as Social Rec­om­men­da­tion Net­work: with­in 12 hours twit­ter pro­vid­ed me with my fol­low­er’s rec­om­men­da­tions, which 
- came with­in hours
- matched my cri­te­ria
- pro­vid­ed addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion and
- best price links.

Far from being rep­re­sen­ta­tive this indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ence should make us think about the rec­om­men­da­tion power an appli­ca­tion like twit­ter has. I will use this social rec­om­men­da­tion net­work more often an will try to pro­vide my exper­tise if need­ed. Let’s see which appli­ca­tions and busi­ness mod­els will fol­low… 

4 Replies to “Twitter as a Social Recommendation Network”

  1. MyEpinion says:

    Great exam­ple for use­ful­ness of twit­ter. I think its one of the best social media mar­ket­ing instru­ments in these times.…

  2. Ian Hendry says:

    Could not agree more. And because Twit­ter enables you to ask for real and “live” rec­om­men­da­tions from peo­ple you know, it offers so much more than Yelp, Qype, Brown­book and oth­ers of that ilk. Not to men­tion a much eas­i­er way to ger a rel­e­vant assess­ment of a busi­ness you want to deal with than you’d get fish­ing through hun­dreds of page results from Google.
    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ

  3. Phoebe says:

    We’ve all heard sto­ries about Twit­ter’s great poten­tial as a rec­om­men­da­tion engine — and they’re quite con­vinc­ing — but I always come back to the thought that it only works if you’ve already invest­ed many hours and have a pro­file with a large num­ber of rel­e­vant fol­low­ers. I think there will always be demand for e.g. shop­ping rec­om­men­da­tions that require less input / effort. Can Twit­ter pro­vide this?

  4. Michael Reuter says:

    Phoebe, I don’t see the neces­si­ty for twit­ter deliv­er­ing won­ders 😉
    Look — in the offline world you won’t get any valu­able advice if badly con­nect­ed, either. We all have to con­nect first to prof­it from our net­work.

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