I opened a Twitter account about 6 months ago and really couldn’t figure out what was going on. It seemed so silly that people were telling each other where they were, what they were eating, and where they were going next in 140 characters or less. It was like overhearing a conversation in a restaurant… somewhat interesting for a minute but really a waste of time and with the real possibility of getting annoying quickly.
Then I started reading how great Twitter was for business. Instead of tweeting about their cheeseburger lunch, people were tweeting about their jobs and careers. Marketing was happening and all sorts of business opportunities appeared overnight. Unfortunately this brought a lot of spam and a huge amount of multi-level-marketing offers.
Soon the noise increased and it seemed like everyone was using Twitter. It became the de-facto communication medium for some people. With the simple addition of a cell phone software program, people were tweeting on the golf course, baseball field, and even while sky diving. All sorts of uses were devised for this simple communication medium.
In Twitter, it’s easy to follow people. Just click on a follow link and you have their tweets listed in your twitter list. It’s real easy to get carried away with this and soon you have a constant stream of communication going on. It’s like watching a stock ticker. The more people you follow, the more noise you have, and the less value each tweet is.
I added a browser plug-in for Firefox, and now my tweets were displayed at the bottom of my browser as they came in. Talk about constant interruptions… every few seconds a new message. Blah, blah, blah… Some days I just turn it off. It is just too much noise.
So here I am six months later with some recommendations.
1. Follow a few good people. It is so easy to just add people, but you soon may find the noise unbearable especially from the twitter fanatics. I suggest finding thought leaders in fields that interest you. Make sure they are providing good content. Keep your list short. You’ll soon have a great and inspiring resource at your fingertips.
2. Link to good content. If you have a blog, website, or business link, use twitter as a way of getting new people to come to your site. Provide links to important and relevant content on your other web entities and you’ll increase your online traffic.
3. Use Twitter Search. This is really the power of Twitter. Using search you can find out the latest information quickly about almost any subject imaginable. This is a great way to find out about the latest software upgrade, baseball scores, and even great dinner recipes. The real power here is timeliness. With all the constant tweeting going on, you are apt to find out things much quicker here than on Google.
With the addition of good Twitter interface programs such as Tweetdeck, you can separate the good tweets from the bad. I would love to hear your comments on Twitter. Have you found interesting or helpful uses for it?