It seems that I get asked ‘Jess, why do you use Twitter?’ on a daily basis lately. It made me think about why – is it just for fun? Informational? Here are my top five reasons why in no particular order.
1. Its Fun: Yes, its obvious. If you’re spending most of your day checking in with people (most of whom you dont know IRL) you’re going to have a bit of fun. Between Elfing Yourself and Cowbelling, its going to get a little less than boring. True.
2. Its Educational: Even as a relative Twitter newbie, I cant tell you how many times I’ve learned things via Twitter that normally I’d not have bumped into on my own. Today’s example was Bettie Page’s death. I had no idea – I dont watch or read the news much – and probably wouldnt have heard. And when I did, it would have been much, much later. Now I learn things more quickly. (PS and look like I’m informed!)
3. Its Helped My Working Life Tremendously: With the growing list of people I follow, I’m able to interact with some of the greatest minds in my field. People who, normally, I’d not be able to reach quickly, and if at all, never mind a response. Access to like-minded professionals in the industry has been one of the greatest take aways from my Twittering. Have a question at work or need to know of a great example of something? Ask your Twitter Friends and get instant feedback. Pay attention to people and you find gads of information on topics you care about. Again – look like you do a lot more work paying attention to the Internet than you do by passing along information you share with your Twitter folks.
4. Networking, networking, networking: Sure you meet people at conferences and work but do you regularly interact with them? Do you read their blogs via RSS or email with them? Twitter has cut all of that out for me. I can now access people instantly, and more than likely, receive their blogs this way as well. I’ve abandoned several feeds in my Google Reader because of this. Also, by interacting with these people, you’re building your personal net worth. By providing them with helpful information, not just shouts, you are creating a rise in your own personal brand.
5. Shameless Self Promotion: Of course, Twitter is an easy way to boast and show off. Provide your blog via a feed. I’ve seen my traffic quadrupled in a couple of weeks by doing this alone. I get asked questions. I engage in philosophical discussions. All of this helps you build on your networking and who knows, maybe even end up with a job out of the situation. Regardless, everyone promotes something on Twitter, the key is, to do so in a helpful way. No body likes an all caps guy, basically, the equivalent of a ‘feeder only’ or ‘your commercial here’ kind of existence on Twitter.
So come on in!