© 2010 Ugur Akinci
The rumor is that the Twitter is now used by some companies to share Release Notes and distribute Bug Fixes, two important components of the software development cycle.
The advantages of using the Twitter are obvious: Twitter is fast, and through retwitting, your message can potentially reach millions quickly, and for free.
Since more and more people are on Twitter these days, it is a natural platform for anyone to reach clients and customers.
You could for example publish your Release Notes, which can include all the New Features and Bug Fixes as well, somewhere on your server. And then you could publish on Twitter the link to that page, followed by a hash code (like #releasenotes, or, #yourcompanyname) so that those who search by key words can easily find your “twit”.
Yet, I have a feeling, this method of dissemination will more likely be used by small and medium-sized companies than Fortune 500 corporations. The issue is simple: accountability.
Let me explain…
When you are a one-person or small-sized operation selling a software that calculates (let’s say) mortgage payments, you are the only person accountable for any potential mistakes that can be made by a quick release on the Twitter. And the result of a potential mistake is probably not at the “mission-critical” level either, due to the nature of the consumer-grade software.
But imagine your are a software company providing alarm and security software for Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Would you post your latest security update or bug fix on the Twitter? I don’t think so.
Put yourself in the shoes of Vice President, Security of the museum. Would you like to see the latest “Release Notes” of your multi-million dollar security software posted on Twitter where anybody can see it?
What if there’s a glitch in the twitted update and “certain consequences” follow due to that glitch, like fire, or a $50 million painting missing? Or what if hackers discover a vulnerability in the system by reverse engineering certain items in the Release Notes? Who would get the blame? What kind of law suits would follow for bug fixes that end up on as public a platform as Twitter? How many people would get fired?
These are some of the reasons why I cannot think of a single Fortune 500 company that would use Twitter as a platform to post Release Notes, Bug Fixes, and other confidential and proprietary software updates. But with smaller companies I can see Twitter used as a fast and efficient (even viral) channel to distribute update information.
What do you think? Are you using Twitter for Release Notes or other updates? What has been your experience and what are your reservations? I’d be interested in your comments.