I’ve had several people pose this question, whether directly or indirectly: “what is so cool about Twitter?” Since I find myself explaining (and sometimes defending) Twitter so frequently, I’ve decided to collectively post my reasons here.
Let me start by saying Twitter is more than it initially appears. I don’t think “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less, is necessarily a great introduction.
Second, I think people get bored with Twitter once they’ve hooked up with people who will follow them. What they may not understand is how much they will get from Twitter by also following others. Sure, it seems odd at first… why am I connecting with someone I don’t – and otherwise, wouldn’t – know?
Think of it this way: imagine being invited to a huge party — there will be people you know, in one facet or another — but in fact there are some you won’t know… but would like to. The catch is, you have about ten minutes to shmooz with everyone. So you arrive and start chatting with your best buds at the appetizer table, getting up to speed. A minute or two later, you glance over and notice some of your techie friends hanging out by the computer; you stroll over to share your experiences with the latest gadget buzz and strike up some conversation. Before you know it, others are coming into your corner, who might be curious about the buzz too, or — have more to add…
This, to me, is what the twitter experience is about. Read more below.
Why am I on Twitter ?
I love being able to have live exchanges with people/professionals I might not otherwise have conversations with – or wouldn’t even know, if it weren’t for Twitter. I’ve found others in my profession (whom I follow, and follow me back) who are extremely resourceful by posting links to noteworthy blogs, or who simply link to tips, tutorials or just great examples of design.
Information at you fingertips.
I also follow a good blend of tecchie gurus including Robert Scoble and Bwana; young entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk; several marketing and PR specialists, Todd Defren and Barbara Gibson for example; in addition to a variety of news sources CNN, and the Utica OD. (By the way, there are many news sources on Twitter, you can probably find your favorite networks already established.)
Oh, and did I mention celebrities? There are a fair amount, although you need to scrutinize a little – there are many “phonies.”
Trade Show updates.
Last month the ‘TED’ (technology, entertainment, design) conference was going on; attendees were tweeting in, left and right, straight from the floor of the show – talk about fresh information!
And, as you advance in the twitterverse — you can solely seek out such highly discussed topics, using hashtags in your tweets (ie: #ted) grouping them, which makes subject matter easy to follow.
Basically, Twitter can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Whether a plethora of resources – tips, comments, and links to idea-sharing blogs, tutorials and other interesting sites; Or a laid back way to keep tabs on friends, family, associates… even clients, it has its benefits.
Using Twitter as a tool.
- Throw out ideas to others in your industry.
- Ask questions of (or answer questions to) those in your profession re: relative topics or troubleshooting issues
- Promote a new blog entry
- Keep up with quick news/events and other social groups you might be following (there are several *real* celebs and personalities on Twitter, and I find it’s just fun to hear what they’re up to)
- Keep up with your friends’/family’s updates
- Coordinate a “tweet up” — meet up with “tweeps” in person, at a designated public place.
Once you’re up and running on Twitter, you may find it overwhelming to keep up with the amount of ‘tweets’ rushing in. If you haven’t already discovered a mobile-device application for Twitter; you will find there are plenty available which will allow you to easily keep Twitter in your pocket.
If you’ve set up your account, but have yet to really put yourself out there, try visiting Mr. Tweet , an application which assists matching you to others you might want to follow.
There’s much that I even have yet to learn about this networking tool – but I find bountiful information by being a part of it!
Here are some links I’ve been sharing with others just getting started on Twitter: A great blog by Barbara Gibson, for starters, that offers good tips for any level of user. Another good write up by Bert Decker, on why and how to use Twitter, can be found here.
Of course, if you’re daring – you can follow me on Twitter too. Good luck!