Julio Ojeda-Zapata technology writer and columnist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and author of twitter means business: how microblogging can help or hurt your company wrote a nice piece today in the Sunday Pioneer Press titled "To twit or not?" [Update: PDFs here] about three Minnesota companies finding some success on Twitter excited to see one of them was Best Buy.

Julio captures well a few of our early efforts namely @BestBuyTulsa221 and other folks in our stores Tweeting to help customers, @jbweb using Twitter to find others in the company passionate about projects she is working on crossing existing hierarchies effortlessly and @BestBuyCMO shows the power of open thinking and openness to feedback all the way at the top. Really exciting stuff, and I love the sub headline "Best Buy: I Spy Twitter" couldn't be more perfect!

I am personally excited Julio specifically calls out the ideas behind my work on the application 'spy' (more on why I created 'spy' here) and how we used it to display Best Buy buzz on in the "Hub" of our headquarters, exposing everyone to the Social Media conversation and it's relevance to our business. I believe, especially in economies like today's, finding new ways to tune into the conversation around your company can only help you focus on the right things and solve customers problems more quickly.

Thanks to Julio and the Pioneer Press for great coverage of our early efforts hopefully there will be more fun to report as this whole space moves forward, I know I am not stopping here.

This may be a bit self promotional but capturing Julio's 'spy' coverage here:

Ben Hedrington, a Web developer for the company's division, is such a Twitter fanatic that he created a new way to troll the twitterverse — along with other "social media" services such as FriendFeed and Flickr — via a built-from-scratch search engine he has christened "Spy" (

Though fashioned in Hedrington's spare time, Spy became an instant Best Buy hit. At one point, a big screen in Best Buy's vast main lobby had Spy displaying the latest Best Buy-related buzz on Twitter. Spy has come in handy for Best Buy-related events, too. A screen behind the speakers is typically present, displaying a rolling series of event-specific tweets so staffers not physically present are able to chime in on discussions by using their Twitter accounts.

Even Barry Judge, Best Buy's chief marketing officer, has Spy running in his office so he'll know what is being said about his company on Twitter. Judge, a recent Twitter convert, said the service complements his blog and is a good way to gauge customer sentiment while speaking directly to his clientele in a way that feels genuine.

When Best Buy recently botched a phased rollout of a rewards-card program (meant to initially target 1,000 folks, it was e-mailed to about 7 million instead), Judge used his "BestBuyCMO" Twitter feed as well as his blog for mea culpas.

"Full transparency was helpful for maintaining trust," Judge said. "Twitter gave me that visibility."