Well, actually I do. But this is what I hear from family, friends, and co-workers when I mention that I use Twitter. Twitter has gotten a rough ride by media and blog posts as being a waste of time or a joke. I would like to explain Twitter and why it is an effective tool.
You’ve probably heard that Twitter is a micro-blogging service. For most people this means absolutely nothing to them. Twitter is a communication tool that is in-between e-mail and instant messaging. It is more immediate than e-mail and less intrusive than instant messaging. Where Twitter stands apart from both these communication tools is that people can follow you and your messages (tweets) can be read by all who follow you or by anyone. Those who follow you will see your tweets in their timeline.
How I Use Twitter
Some of the jokes that have been circulating about Twitter is that people tweet about mundane or seemingly trivial activities like ‘Watching TV with my cat eating cheezies.’ No one, not even your best friend, would care to read that. Those kind of personal comments are best left for Facebook. I view Facebook for personal connections and Twitter for professional networking. Here are some of the ways I use Twitter, which have proven useful:
Connect with like-minded individuals. Finding these people allows me to share ideas to learn ideas and to establish a virtual community that is not ‘gated’.
Promote my blog. When I write articles that I feel would benefit or be of interest to those following me, I share that on Twitter.
Harvest information. Lets face it, searching in Google for relevant information can be a tedious task. The links that come from the people I follow have, for the most part, been screened and deemed useful. Between my RSS feeds and the links I get from Twitter, I most the information I need.
Tips to Get Started
It isn’t very hard to get started using Twitter. Here are some simple steps to get you going.
Create an account on Twitter. If you’re creating a company account, use a username reflective of your brand.
As people begin to follow you, you may want to follow them as well. There are Twitter spammers out there, so make sure they are legit before following them back.
As a humorous side note, check out this sketch from the Jay Leno Show teaching seniors how to use Twitter.
For me, Twitter is not hard to understand. I’ve made into a very functional tool for me professionally. I am able to connect with people from around the world that I normally wouldn’t. I’ve seen how connections made through Twitter have led to employment, professional networking, friendships, and more.