To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Twitter, the popular “social networking” tool that allows you to write brief one- or two-sentence updates about your life (called “tweets”) and then instantly broadcast them to your friends and colleagues. Some praise Twitter as a cutting-edge networking and marketing tool, while critics brush it off as a narcissistic time-waster. This article from BusinessWeek.com sums up both perspectives. Like most things, I suppose it all depends on how you use it.

One thing is for sure: Lots of people are growing addicted to Twitter.

I consider myself pretty tech-saavy and I don’t like the feeling that I’m missing out. So I decided to do a little research into Twitter. I downloaded a Twitter app for my iPhone and I was surprised to discover that I’ve been tweeting for months without even realizing it. Apparantly I somehow set up my blog to automatically “tweet” each new blog post, and then I completely forgot about it. (Here’s my Twitter page.)

I confess I’m unclear as to what makes Twitter so great and why I should use it. I find it hard to believe that most people would have that much interest in my day-to-day activities. To me Twitter seems like just an interesting novelty, but I don’t want to shrug it off prematurely. Maybe I’m missing something. So I’m appealing to you, my readers, to help me broaden my understanding.

Do you tweet? Why or why not? If so, do you use it primarily for business or to connect with friends? How has it helped you? Are there any rules for using (or abusing) Twitter? Please post a comment and share your thoughts. You can even post a link to your Twitter page if you’d like.

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6 thoughts on “To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

  1. Alot of the other networking sites (LinkedIn, Plaxo)have started using something similar. I tried them out and got a pretty good response. If nothing more it’s a good conversation starter. I posted “Gabriel is; Designing toys.” and a few of my contacts asked me about it.

    So it’s probably a safe bet that people do actually care what you are up to. Thats why I subscribe to your blog.

    Not to mention that more links you have pointing to your website the better your Google placement will be.

  2. I have found that it’s a great way to passively or actively stay connected to a group you are involved with. For instance we’re a group of consultants working in various places all connected via twitter. We all now have a basic idea of what each other is up to. Even if you choose to be passive, you can still be ‘in the loop’. But yeah some days you have to sift through the stream of sewage – that’s where un-following comes in.

    Twitter: dshultz

  3. I just starting tweeting a few weeks ago. I was skeptical also. But it is easier to understand once you start using it. It is more than just keeping up with people’s random tasks. I like using it as a min-blog/chat room. I can share links and thoughts that are too small for a blog post, plus connect with other tweeters instantaneously. For example, I can tweet a question, and get help from my followers in a matter of minutes.

    Again, hard to understand unless you use it. My suggestion would be to find a few good Twitterers to follow, get a Twitter client (I use Twitterific) and stick it on your desktop for a few days. You will get a good idea of what it’s all about, and if it’s something you’d enjoy.

  4. Twitter takes a while to “get”, but you’ll get hooked. A great description for one use I read somewhere was “watercooler chat for freelancers”.

    I subscribe to other freelancers/illustrators/designers and it’s fun to hear what’s going on in an informal way. Plus, you can do limited chats with people so it’s a good way to help/share with things. I think you’ll like it if you enjoy blogging.

  5. I can’t figure out how to find anyone on Twitter. I don’t have any friends that use it, and as far as I can tell you can’t search under a keyword, so it’s basically useless to me. It’s like Facebook and other social networking apps: unless you know somebody already, you’re out of luck, like being in the “in” crowd.

  6. If you have any kind of fan base, they love to get little updates/insights into your life. Like a quick mini blog.

    Some people use twitter for marketing, i.e. first 10 orders on my new book get a free artists edition (posted only at twitter and not on your blog). Stuff like that.

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