Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why Twitter? ... Finally Explained

I'm writing this post to help people. I understand both sides of the twitter and antitwitter groups. I myself went from the great mass of “I don’t get the twitter thing” to a “do you twitter?” stranger asking freak in less than 2 months. My wife still doesn’t get it and I understand why; Twitter seems stupid. Yes twitter fans the name is stupid and the idea is abstract… sorry.

*** When twitter users say words like twit, tweeter or tweet it sounds really dumb/dorky to the huge mass of people not on the network. ***

Non-users consider the following as a how to guide/ why its cool guide…

Step 1: Realize that Twitter isn’t Myspace or Facebook!
The big difference here is that Twitter is an open platform, unless you have a limited profile (I don’t suggest) you are an open book. Your thoughts musing web clippings are able to be seen by everyone, 140 characters at a time. You can see what anyone in the world is posting, and they can see you. If you are new to this I would suggest creating a list of your favorite athletes, politicians, movie stars, authors, innovators, companies etc. and following them. Following people that are interesting is like getting a backstage Pass … which brings me to step 2. . .

Step 2: Use Twitter as a backstage pass

Generally when we see our favorite big personalities we see them in a very controlled handled environment. Twitter gives a chance to see what they are thinking and feeling in real time! Twitter is also a great way to stay ahead of trends and find out about parties. I often use it to peer into the lives of people I would never get to hangout with. For me it’s like digital people watching. You want to know what Lauren Conrad’s days really look like, its on twitter. Want to know what Lance Armstrong is doing check out twitter. Want to follow the NHL Free Agency, use hash tags (Hash tag = # in front of a word) and stay up to the second.
( has a good list to start)

Step 3: Use twitter to get customer service

How many of us are sick of dealing with India, Bangalore or Antarctica on the phone. Hash tag a company name with a complaint or comment and you'll almost always get a response. Many companies have small teams tracking this stuff. If someone else is having the same problem you can use twitter as a network to find solutions… no bad hold music, and often in real time.

Step 5: Follow your friends
See what your friends are doing, even select some have SMS text’s sent to your phone. Its a cool way to send group messages. Also use it to have public conversations about topics, just something that needs to be attempted.

Step 6: When a story breaks you are really interested in
Follow what is going on by following hash tags… there are how to guides and 3 party applications for that.

Basically Twitter just takes a little getting used to, but once you figure it out… it becomes a very cool tool. Finally I would suggest using a gadget like tweet deck or the twitter gadget for iGoogle.

See side bar if you want to follow me after you set up your account.