Advertising Age just posted an article titled, "How Twitter Can Help or Hurt an Airline". It relates how Southwest Airlines has successfully used Twitter in its marketing efforts while some other airlines have not had as much success.
Although this is an oversimplification, in a nutshell companies that don't "get" Twitter (or other technologies) are really overanalyzing them. It comes down to classic marketing principles. When you strip away the uniqueness of the technology, the same principles are always relevant and applicable. In this situation, the issues with legacy airlines and Twitter boil down to simple customer service. Twitter allows customers to accelerate and propagate their thoughts faster and wider than previous technologies, which means that the impact on marketers if they don't pay attention is greater. Pay attention to your customers, and do your best to make your customers enjoy you so much they want to be your advocates. Now, with that philosophy, look at how each technology can help you do that. (And if you still don't "get" it, look at what the people who do "get" it are doing.)
Domus is a Philadelphia-based classic marketing agency with significant strengths in internet and social media marketing. Our goals, strategies, and tactics always balance the foundations of classic principles with the opportunities of new technologies and a changing social and business fabric. Please visit our web site for more.