How Twitter Got an App Store: The Oneforty Story (Part 1)

10/6/09Follow @bbuderi

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her business. She and her husband had moved to the Boston area in September 2006 from Philadelphia, where she had her own business called Pistachio Consulting that helped people, mostly in large companies, with presentations. Later that year, she had given birth to her second child, and had put the business on hold for that and the family’s relocation. Until that time, Fitton had done little with the Web from a business standpoint. But as she was trying to rebuild her consultancy in her new hometown, she finally accepted that Pistachio needed to have a bigger Web presence. As Fitton puts it, she kind of sighed and said: “‘Ok fine, what is Web 2.0? Where do I update my browser?’”

Her path to true social media awakening goes something like this: blogging, RSS (which allowed her to easily follow other blogs), Twitter. Fitton says she heard about Twitter in the early spring of 2007. She joined, “thought it was dumb,” “wrote the obligatory ‘Twitter looks stupid’ post.” It was called “Smart people are using twitter?”

And then one day a young blogger and entrepreneur named Ben Casnocha linked his blog post to his Twitter account. Fitton followed the thread and read his most recent tweets—and somehow the powers of this new expression medium really came through. If I’ve got Fitton’s thinking essentially right, it includes all these points: You get 140 characters to convey the essence of a thought or idea to anyone. That can be very powerful. You need never work alone. By following others, it’s like surrounding yourself with smart, highly motivated people who drop insights over the transom of the Internet as if they’re sitting in the cubicle next door—and this can be great for both your personal and your business life. “Sun coming out in the sky, just suddenly got it,” says Fitton in almost tweet-like shorthand of her Twitter epiphany.

Oneforty_logoThe date was May 17, 2007 (Fitton tells me she sometimes can’t remember what she did the day before, but she has a penchant for remembering specific turning-point dates). “Four days later,” says Fitton, “I did my first tweetup, here in Boston.” It was to welcome Australian social media strategist and PR guru Paull Young to America. Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford, and early vlogger Steve Garfield were among the dozen or so who attended, “so it was pretty cool,” Fitton says.

She has pretty much been at the forefront of the Twitter movement ever since. “I followed a bunch of interesting, smart people, and it just kind of took off from there,” she says. Fitton took the name @pistachio. Her original Twitter bio read: “I make PowerPoint suck less.” Her tweets weren’t just about business or just about her personal life—they were about whatever was on her mind, “just twittering” is how she puts it. “That is the sense any business should think about with social media—be yourself as much as possible,” she says. She ought to know. As of this writing, Fitton has 38,882 followers, and counting.

Pretty quickly, Pistachio Consulting’s Google rankings went up. More importantly, says Fitton, “Customers starting hiring me because they had been following me on Twitter and they felt comfortable.” Indeed, she says, many clients felt like they already knew her, understood how she thought and how she approached work, her intelligence, all that—and they had already made up their minds to work with her. “It wasn’t, ‘Come in and give me a capability presentation.’ It was, ‘We want to work with you, let’s figure out how,’” Fitton relates.

A few months after her ‘Twitter is Stupid’ post, Fitton wrote an ‘Ode to Twitter.’

A Real Twitter Economy?

In October 2007, Fitton gave her first talk on the business use of Twitter. Not too long … Next Page »

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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