Posted by: Kristen Ridley | November 1, 2013

Twitter – Part 1, Why I love it

Love Twitter“Are you kidding me?! That sounds like the most colossal WASTE OF TIME I have EVER heard of!!” That was my reaction when Twitter was first explained to me. Not that I over-react, or anything! 😉 But I have done a complete about-face on Twitter, and now I’m pretty much addicted to that cute little blue bird.

Recently I’ve had a number of people react to my mentioning my love of Twitter with similar sentiments to my original one, and ask me: a) what I love about it, or b) how they can get value out of it, and since I’ve heard both questions more than once, I have finally decided to answer both questions. But rather than have a single really long post, I’ve decided to break it up into a Part 1 and Part 2. Here in Part 1 I’m going to explain why I think Twitter is worth spending time on, and what I get out of it. Twitter – Part 2 will give my suggestions for how to use Twitter if you’re new to it, or thinking about diving in.

Why I love Twitter:

It’s instant gratification – Anything you can think of no matter how odd or esoteric, search it on Twitter and you will discover people, places, pictures, website,  things and resources focused it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen something on Twitter that was just exactly what I needed at exactly that moment. Then there are the times I’m not looking for anything at all, but as soon as I open Twitter and start scanning my feed, I find a wealth of things I didn’t even know I needed, but which fascinate, challenge or sometimes infuriate me. Regardless, you don’t have to wait around for anything – everything on Twitter is right there, right now. And in our ADD-world that’s a good thing. Sad, possibly, but effective – definitely!

It’s short, fast and easy to digest – at first, I admit, the idea of a communication with a maximum of 140 characters seemed utterly impossible to me. As a communicator, words are the tools of my trade, and I love them – all of them! So it can be hard to limit my use of them, especially to such a brief number, and still say something worthwhile. But when I thought about it a bit more, I remembered that ANOTHER key part of what I do when I counsel my business partners and clients, is to KEEP IT BRIEF! I am forever editing things down and removing extraneous or unnecessary words from documents and reminding them that everyone is busy and attention-spans are short, so don’t use more words than you really NEED to get the message across . . . hmmmm, physician – heal thyself! It was a challenge for me to say exactly what I want to say in just 140 characters in the beginning, but I love a challenge, and it’s been a terrific exercise in editing myself to become proficient in using Twitter. I’m getting pretty good at it, although there will always be more to learn, especially since I try hard to NOT use “text-speak” short-forms but rather full words. The upside is, in recognizing  that miniscule attention-span, when you DO say what you mean in 140 characters, people might actually get your message. Heck, with all that time they saved in reading such a short message, they might even RESPOND!

It’s commitment-free – You don’t HAVE to participate on Twitter to get value from it. Because Twitter is a constantly changing, growing and self-perpetuating flood of information, there is ALWAYS something new or cool or helpful marching by in you feed, but it’s entirely up to you whether you jump in and participate or just watch – friend Isaac Pigott described Twitter to me as being like a parade and that really resonated for me. Twitter has a continuous flow of information whether you look at it or not, and you can pick out the bits you can use, when you can/want to use them, while letting everything else just flow on by. There are days – sometimes even weeks – when I don’t look at Twitter at all and my life goes on just fine. But I know it’s there, and if I want it, there’s a ton of stuff just waiting to march on by!

You can talk to anyone, anywhere – Twitter is about as democratic as it gets – you can connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime, on any subject. Think about your favourite musician, your favourite author, a politician, or, [if you MUST] a celebrity that you would love to talk to – on Twitter YOU CAN!! Almost everyone is on Twitter now, and most of them – including “famous” people – actually participate on it. I’ll give you an example: there’s an author whose books I love, and she’s two books into a series, but it’s been several years since a new one came out. I was wondering if she’d given up on the series, and if the rest of the books would be coming soon, or ever. In the old days, I could have written a letter to the publishers, who might have forwarded my letter to her, and she might have responded – months later! In the recent past, I might have been able to go to a website for either the publisher or the author and posted a comment with my question, but it would still likely be days at best before I received a response, and that’s assuming there is someone constantly monitoring the site. But with Twitter, I searched her name, found her, tweeted my question to her, and she responded just a couple of hours later. I’ve also connected with people who are well-known in my industry, with local politicians and media people and found information or gotten responses on issues or problems in hours rather than days . . . or NEVER!! I think it’s pretty cool that Twitter allows me to have a conversation with almost anyone I like in nearly real-time.

You will discover people, info and insights you’d never find otherwise – because Twitter is a big open ocean of people, there are no barriers between you and anyone else. So even if you don’t know someone, or aren’t already following their Tweets, you can still see their stuff, either by doing a search and discovering someone or something at random, or alternatively, someone you follow will re-tweet [that’s “share” for the uninitiated] something cool from someone THEY follow, that you don’t. And if that something else from that someone happens to interest me, I can then follow them for the future. It’s like dropping a stone in a pond in how easy it is to discover someone or something on Twitter with very little effort. And all that can happen with just one or two clicks.

Hopefully, this list makes some sense, and helps to explain why so many people – including me – are Twitter-addicted. This is my list of what makes Twitter awesome, but I know there are other reasons. I would love for you to comment if you have more reasons to love Twitter for people thinking about it to consider.

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Responses

  1. K, your last two points are spot on for me! There are jerks out there but so far, I’ve had a great experience getting to know people within the communications industry and engaging with public figures whom I respect.

  2. That’s a great comment Susan, and makes me think of another point for the Part 2 post that I’m working on now. Thanks for reading and for weighing in!


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