Personally, I think that, for many companies, it junk – pure and simple.

Companies investing time, effort and presumably money to put up 140 characters at a time of absolute inane rubbish. Where’s the ROI – how is this being measured and, more importantly, why are you doing it?

Someone told one of the big chiefs that it’s the ‘next big thing’ and so someone else dived on it.

I could spend a lot of time on this – but I don’t have it handy – so I will have to accept the fact that companies are going to participate in this particular slice of …’Social media’.

So, if you are a SME and are going to dive in – don’t before you ask a few pertinent questions and have them answered them satisfactorily.

Who’s going to monitor this internally and how do you justify the time and expense, how do you measure the return of the investment.

If a company was ‘speaking publically’ they would normally have someone senior front of house or even used the services of a PR agency. Letting someone with limited company knowledge or even a part time worker converse with your customers digitally is not something to be taken lightly.

You have to know why you are doing this – don’t be a sheep and start using twitter because everyone else is. What you competitors are doing, are they doing it effectively and, more importantly how is their company reflected.

But there is a touch of dammed if you don’t, dammed if you do about the service. Here is a not uncommon scenario. For reputational management reasons, companies register their company names (and some derivatives). Then someone finds that the company is on Twitter post a question and the tweet is not replied to, as the company registered to protect the brand but is now in effect not doing the brand any favours by ignoring customers.

Ryanair got into a bit of muck recently when some squatters opened a ‘Ryanair” account which set about abusing customers. These people genuinely thought they were communicating with official Ryanair tweets.

Their Official Site was closed down on the back of the controversy and it looks like that they have abandoned the medium altogether now.

To be frank, their original Twitter site was fairly shocking and was simply a stream of current offers and very little interaction. A good airline twitter site – try EasyJet really good used of customer service.

If you are not on Twitter, you can still check to see what’s being said about your company using one of the twitter search sites: http://tweetscan.com is a nice one.

I think there are some big issues to overcome, squatting being one of them. To highlight this earlier today I registered my own twitter accounts in the names (company) of three of the largest Irish Companies. It’s not their fault that I am allowed such easy access to their brand names and they can have them if they want – I was just proving a point.