Why I Twitter
Image by Mykl Roventine via Flickr
by Eva Lyford
Despite all the talk about it, most people, even most savvy Web types, don't use Twitter. That's not a problem--it's just true. That means that even among the dress-in-black blog-writing, Facebook-using folks "in the know," Twitter people like me are still in the minority. It also means that I often get asked why I Twitter, so I decided to sit down and make a list.
Twitter, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- Twitter makes me a better writer. In 140 characters, a person has to be concise. As an example: there was a time I would have said "pretty concise" in that sentence, but now I'm over it. The term "pretty" adds no value to the thought, so I downsized it. I credit Twitter with forcing me to reexamine my writing style and improve it so that each word adds value to a sentence.
- Twitter networks me with interesting people. On the one hand, there are the celebrity thinkers like Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, and Guy Kawasaki who would be interesting in any venue; they happen to be on Twitter. Next, there are everyday people who I'm getting to know; Carma, Kristin, Michelle, Chuck and so many friendly others.
- Twitter is functional. Indyprov, the improv comedy troupe I'm in, uses Twitter to promote local shows. The Humane Society of Indianapolis, who I volunteer with, uses Twitter to promote adoptable pets. Local Indianapolis businesses, such as The Bean Cup and Yats practice micro-marketing and make offers which I've taken advantage of and recommended to others via retweets--that's good business for both of us.
- Twitter is local. Twitter facilitates connections on a local level; as an example, I noticed a few of my local followers often mention hanging at The Bean Cup, an independent coffee house in southside Indianapolis. I live only 2 miles away, but have never heard of them because their location is hidden from view of the nearby thoroughfare. I checked them out by taking them up on a Twitter promotion offering free coffee for Twitterers who stopped in. I liked the place so well, I've been back often. And from the business perspective, that's an effective promotion.
- Twitter is global. When something happens in the world--the Mumbai attacks or the Miracle on the Hudson--Twitterers are talking about it. Sure, I didn't need to know that a Flat Stanley survived Flight 1549's landing, but I found out through Twitter and that personalized the event for me. The news is no longer remote to me when I get these details.
- Twitter interlinks my social networks. I have networks on plaxo, on friendfeed, facebook and on linkedin. They operate differently, and through the magic of RSS I can keep them updated and current--I can be with my network contacts wherever they chose to be. Some people get heavily invested in their network and don't want to leave to join you on another site; with Twitter, I can update their preferred networking site at will and stay in touch.
- Twitter is an instant expert aggregator. Post a question, and hear back from your group with their thoughts and ideas. Even when the question isn't answered, often direction is given which can lead you to an answer.
- Finally, Twitter still has that new-website-smell. Almost 2 years since I joined, it hardly feels broken in, and I'm enjoying being part of the community who is defining the utility of the site. Daily I find new uses for Twitter and I enjoy sharing them on my blog. In this way, I've created a niche for myself where others come to me to find out about Twitter tools and tips.
What do you like about Twitter? Post to let me know--or tweet me @ejly.
also published at http://www.mikemoran.com/biznology/archives/2009/03/why_i_twitter.html