If there is anyone who underestimates the degree to which Twitter has impacted the way information is disseminated throughout society, they need to look no further than the events of the past two weeks.
The horrific tragedy in Boston was first broadcast on Twitter; several minutes before it appeared anywhere else. Throughout the crisis, Twitter facilitated an unparalleled flow of details (some accurate, some not).
The stock market dropped nearly 150 points on Tuesday, April 23 when the Associated Press Twitter Account was hacked and a tweet was sent indicating that the White House had experienced explosions and the President was hurt. According to the WSJ, the (single) tweet "erased $200 billion of value from U.S. stock markets" (which subsequently came right back).
Two ideas come to mind.
The first is that if you aren't following Twitter closely then you should. Invest the time to understand how individuals and marketers are using it to spread a message in real time to niche or all-encompassing audiences. Advertising on Twitter is poised to evolve in ways that offer fascinating opportunities, which marketers can hardly envision yet. The overarching, "Promoted Tweets" are good, but they don't scratch the surface of the customization that's possible with the newly announced "Keyword in Timeline" advertising options. And these opportunities are sure to continue to expand in the channel, particularly if Twitter heads down the IPO path and places a stronger emphasis on revenue.
Second, it's imperative to keep a tight control over access to your Twitter password. If entities like the Syrian Electronic Army (who claimed responsibility for hacking the Associated Press) set their sights on your account you may be doomed, but nonetheless, you should limit the number of individuals who have access to your account.
Twitter is an incredibly groundbreaking medium. Become intimately familiar with it's current attributes so that you are appropriately positioned for what's coming next.