Do you Twitter?
Just in case you don’t know what Twitter is, it’s yet another Social Networking tool that allows you to post short (140 characters) Tweets that other people can read. The character limit is there so that you can post Tweets via text messages from your phone.
Twitter is easy to use and you can post whatever you want to it. Many people use it as a ‘micro-blog’ posting things that they are up to, thoughts that cross their mind, links to websites that interest them and many other things. Business owners are also using it in imaginative ways to promote their business.
Once you have a Twitter account, other people can follow you and read your posts. If you get a large following then your posts can be seen by thousands of people, making it a powerful broadcast tool. However, when you first sign up you may think ‘What’s the point!’
Who to Follow?
The best thing to do when you first sign up is to start following some other people to see how they use it. As a freelance website designer I use Twitter to follow other website designers allowing me to keep up with developments in the industry. I also follow people I know personally so that I can keep up with what they are up to. I follow people who windsurf and Mountain Bike so that I can arrange trips with them and I follow other people that interest me. many people simply post what they are up to, which may not sound that interesting, but I’ve been following Astro_Mike, one of the astronauts repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. He may only be posting about what he can see from the windiw, but when that window is in the space shuttle in orbit around the earth, suddenly the mundane posts become a little more interesting!
I actually have more than one Twitter account. You can follow my personal tweets here. I also have an account for Forces-of-Nature Tweets which is automatically updated via an RSS feed from my Forces-of-Nature website so that people can keep up to date with updates on the website.
How to use Twitter
Once you get to grips with Twitter, there are other features that you can use such as direct messages and Re-Tweeting, but the basics are fun and it can be really a really useful way of keeping in touch.
To start with I’d sign in each morning and feel as though I needed to go back through and see what everyone had been Twittering about, I soon tired of that, especially once I started following more people. Now I just dip into it now and then and don’t worry about missing things that were Tweeted when I wasn’t online. I think of it as being at a party where there are loads of conversations going on. If you fancy joining in with one you do, but if you don’t hear something then it doesn’t really matter. Of course, people can direct message me and I keep up with those, but I don’t use it too much as an Instant Messaging client.
Another advantage of Twitter is that you have to choose you you follow. If you don’t follow someone then you don’t see their Tweets, so unlike e-mail you don’t get spammed as first have to follow someone in order to hear from them. I follow people for a while but if their tweets don’t interest me I simply unfollow them.
Is Twitter for you?
Twitter isn’t for everyone, but the more I use it the more I see its potential (both for personal and business use) and the more fun I have using it. I’ve been setting up various Twitter accounts for clients of mine and educating them in the use of such tools and it certainly works as a broadcast medium. You can use it however you like. Only follow people you know, use it to promote your website or business or to keep up witht he latest developments on a particular topic. As with all good things, it is simple to use yet flexible. Guve it a go, stick with it for a while and before you know it you’ll be a fully fledged Twitterer!