“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.”
– The Beatles


Brent Spiner as Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner as Brent Spiner and Commander Data

Brent Spiner as Commander Data

Yesterday, I watched on TweetDeck as Brent Spiner (who played Commander Data on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and recorded the seminal album “Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back”) learned how to re-tweet, share replies and, in general, learn how to navigate the recently launched starship, the USS Twitter.  In one post, Spiner wrote, “It’s okay. I’m not offended by being called ignorant. In the greater scheme, I am.”

Brent, most all of us are right there with you.  This is a new communication technology so it will take some time for most all of us to: (1) learn how to use it, and (2) learn how to use it effectively.  Just like the telephone, the fax machine and papyrus, there’s always a learning curve when our species identifies a new way to connect with one another.  And that’s really all Twitter (or FaceBook or FriendFeed or countless other Web-based channels) is – a new way to connect and form communities of life-minded people (even if some in your community have positronic minds).

Is Twitter the latest trend du jour?  Sure.  So were the telegraph and the printing press.  As Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff write in one of the best books I’ve seen on harnessing the power of social technologies, Groundswell, any technology that enable people to connect more easily in more meaningful ways will succeed.  Twitter does that in spades.

Whether Twitter or FriendFeed or the next great app will expand our choice of communication channels is a pointless question – they have, they are and they will.  The question to ask is how can we best learn how to adapt and use that channel to create something of value?  For a terrific and concise look at how to use Twitter strategically, I suggest looking at this approach developed by Ogily’s 360 Degree Digital Influence group.  In one elegantly simple graphic, Ogilvy’s team lay out a coherent, concise method of how to use Twitter strategically for yourself, your organization or your clients.  (And props to Ogilvy for sharing this with the rest of us).

As Jean Luc Picard might say, “Make it so.”