Why should you use Twitter?
That was my first reaction when I was first exposed to Twitter. Frankly, I had my doubts. However, as I have gained more experience with Twitter I have discovered that it can be a very useful and powerful tool—the trick is to use it properly to meet your needs. If it is not used wisely it will merely produce “noise” in your life.
In the Complete Guide to Twitter, the author list the following benefits of using Twitter:
- Being able to “live-Tweet” an event. Twitter’s “moment” when it went from banality to mainstream was at the 2007 SXSW conference when attendees were rapidly twittering conference developments as they happened. People could then stand in front of two large screens and watch the Twitter timelines rapidly and constantly updating with what was happening next. Call it instant messaging on steroids.
- Being able to break the news live from where it happens. The best example of this is, of course, Iran when the public went onto the streets in protest of the 2009 national elections. Iranian tweeters were able to bypass official government restrictions and tweet everything that was going on in their country. It got to the point where “official” news agencies such as CNN and the BBC were forced to get their news from Twitter because their own journalists had been expelled from the country. These messages were then presented on the television screen to the viewers. Twitter messages also give the news a “human face” because they are coming directly from the people most affected by the events in question.
- Being used by friends & family to "follow" each other: are your family and friends in another country from you? Do you have trouble keeping in touch with friends, either real or cyber? Then Twitter makes an excellent tool for keeping in touch and finding out what your family and friends are up to and what they are thinking at that particular moment.
- Real Time Event Search Engine: because of the continuous buzz, Twitter can be considered a rapidly updating search engine, powered by real people. It can be easily used to check what people are saying about currently unfolding events, or to check up on more personal, time-related issues (e.g. if Gmail is down for everyone or just you). We will get more into detail on this later in the manual.
- Being able to promote your blog posts: If you use a website called Twitterfeed6, you can have all your blog posts automatically posted to a Twitter feed as they are published. This has proven to be a highly effective way of promoting a blog or website. Readers who live on Twitter instead of an RSS feed can be notified of your new material in their timeline.
- Job networking: in this current economic climate, an unemployed person needs all the edge they can get and Twitter hasn’t been left out of their job seeking armoury. The site is now being used to ask for work and to look for suitably qualified candidates. Both job seekers and job providers are leaving messages on Twitter with what they need. Private messaging takes care of the rest. ). These tweets can then be retweeted to others and discussed by those who may decide to subscribe to your site later.
- Being able to get the resources you need: Twitter has also been used if a user needs something or has something to offer. Need someone to car-share on a trip from San Francisco to New York? Do you have a spare conference room which you can loan out to someone? Are you selling something or looking to buy something? Then Twitter can be used as your interactive classified ads column. No more placing ads in the newspaper.
For excellent tips,tricks, and powerful resources for using Twitter, download the The Complete Guide to Using Twitter.