Why businesses should twitter

This morning I listened to a great podcast on how Directions Magazine and All points Blog are using twitter feeds to provide very “to the point and immediate” updates throughout the day to their readers. That prompted me to read Tim O’Reilly’s post on Why I love Twitter 

Twitter need not be just an alternative social network to Facebook, it can be the basis for a business dialogue with clients. If you are a software vendor there will be occasions such as a new software release or a bug fix where many users will be anxiously seeking status updates in a fast changing situation. The run up to the roll out of the Traffic Management Act in the UK is a good example, the period around midnight on December 31st 1999 and the Y2k panic was another. As businesses move to SaaS models customers will want near real time updates on service availability and predicted downtime. 
At the moment you can declare your location in a twitter which enables others to search for public feeds near to them. It will only be a matter of time before you can manage which people following you receive a twitter based on their location, then utilities and other service businesses will want to start twittering.
I expect that commercial twittering willl become the norm within the next year much as company blogs have become a recognised communications tool. But it is no good waiting until you need to use a twitter feed to talk to customers, you need to start establishing the dialogue now.