Today’s post was inspired by my friend @ShinyGyrl who eventually joined Twitter but was still not sure what to do with it. If you have considered joining Twitter or have joined the band but don’t know the song, then we’re here to help you.
I think I make a fairly decent assumption that you have no doubt heard about Twitter. The other night I was at a diner and the TV was tuned to CNN’s Larry King Live Show. On the show were Ashton Kutcher, P Diddy and joining them by phone was Jimmy Fallon. The topic – Kutcher beating CNN to 1 million friends (in twitter lingo – followers). And I thought to myself “Do I really need to watch this?”. As in, probably the most respected news network in the world was having an hour segment to discuss Twitter?
Here’s a short clip of the Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
Yeah, what is this Twitter Frenzy anyway?
The names you saw earlier and on the video are high profile names, consisting of celebrities, politicians and news personalities. One of those personalities even used Twitter last year while running for office. No brownie points if your guess was the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Fancy celebrities? Twitter keeps you up to date with the latest 411. And there are countless celebrities too. If you’re into politics, you just saw in the clip above how politicians use Twitter. Twitter has even changed the way news is brought to you. Ever noticed how CNN news anchors Rick Sanchez or Don Lemon use Twitter? They feature their Twitter feeds during their news casts. Look at even radio stations; you almost always hear the DJ telling listeners to ‘hit them up on Twitter’. To cut a long story short, ordinary people can interact with extraordinary personalities in a way that they weren’t able to before. There’s no busy signal or secretary who won’t transfer your call. You are linked directly.
Speaking of news, Twitter is fast becoming a news source. Remember the plane that skidded off the runway in Denver or the plane that crashed landed on the Hudson River or the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. News of those events broke out on Twitter before news channels even pieced together what was going on. Twitter will be an important source of current info, perhaps even beating out the news networks to it.
Have you ever wanted to find out what people are saying – in real time I might add? If you’re not familiar with the term real time, I am talking about 2 seconds ago not 2 days ago. Picture this; traditionally, if I wanted to find out about a topic, I would Google it. If I did that however, I would find information that would be from 2 days ago, perhaps 2 years ago. Even worse is that information may not appear on Google until it has been indexed and ranked. This weekend (Apr 25th/26th) will be the NFL draft. Say I wanted to find out about what other NY Jets fans thought about the draft picks, I would do a Twitter search of the word “Jets” and any time anyone on Twitter mentioned the Jets, my search page would instantly notify me that there was an update. Not only do I get up to the second update of my football team, it is also user generated content.
So you like what John Doe from St Louis is saying about your team. Twitter gives you the opportunity to connect with other like minded people. One question that was posed to me was “Is Twitter about making friends with strangers?” The person that asked the question happens to be a blogger so I will use that in an analogy. As a blogger, you have people that read your blog. You might not know them, but you wouldn’t call them strangers, you’d call them readers or subscribers. If I had a store, I wouldn’t refer to the gentleman that walked in as a stranger, I’d call him my customer. And they don’t need to be strangers at all. They could be people you attended a class with, or met at a conference or someone whose book you’ve read. When I was starting out on Twitter, my friend on Facebook and Twitter Esther Jacobson gave me this quote from another of our friends Jim Turner, a Social Media Marketing Strategist “You make friends on Facebook but you build relationships on Twitter“.
Why do I need to connect with them again? Let’s put it this way, my philosophy is “Everyone you meet knows something you don’t, learn from them”. I think I can safely assume that no one makes it in this world alone. You need a supporting cast. On Twitter, you can have your questions answered or you can exchange ideas. You do not even need to own a blog. You may need help with your research paper. Just type in your question and see your responses come in or type in a query and see what ordinary people are saying about it. By the same token, if you come across someone that needs help, you can share your knowledge with them.
Is Twitter a chat room? If you want it be, except chat rooms don’t come close to doing anything that Twitter can do for you. I remember this saying from a while back that a computer by itself is dumb if you don’t tell it what to do. The same is true of Twitter. Look at Twitter’s home page and see how relatively simple it is. So much tidier than Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is still great . If I could play Scrabble on Twitter, that would be awesome, but then again that would be pushing my luck too far. You, yes – you, have to make Twitter work for you.We (meaning you and I) have seen the most ingenious uses of Twitter, starting from getting the President of the United States getting elected to real time news to doctors performing surgery to marriage proposals. I bet you even as you read this someone just pulled off a great use of Twitter.
Whether you decide to join Twitter or not is up to you. If you do, great. My subsequent posts will show you how to make the most of it. If you decide not to, still great…but I bet you’ll hear the word Twitter or tweet so much you’ll have no other option. When Facebook was first available, I signed up but never used it – even to the point that I couldn’t remember my password. I don’t need to rub in Facebook stats for this point in time, but you get the point…Twitter is growing and will only be going up. Don’t miss out on it.
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