You’ve heard of Twitter right? If you’re an early adopter you certainly have. But to my surprise, Twitter has totally gone mainstream (even my mother knows about it). If you live in a cave, please watch the video below to learn more about Twitter.
I first noticed that people were at least aware of Twitter about a year ago while eating lunch in the break room of the TMP Atlanta office. My coworkers would ask me about the network, how I use it and what I tweet about. Slowly, my office buddies began creating their own accounts. First, @superchud and @kimberley_ann. Then, the phenomenon spread throughout the office and pretty soon, most everyone had created an account. Even @danwarnick! But as my followers grew, I noticed that most of my coworkers weren’t actively tweeting. Yesterday, our lunchtime conversation revolved around how some of my coworkers “just don’t get the point of Twitter” and that’s why they never tweet. Heads turned in my direction and I decided that the misconceptions have gone on long enough. Twitter is not just a constant status update or a way to stalk your friends. It’s SO much more than that!
First and foremost, Twitter is a social network. So use it like one! Follow everyone you know. The spirit of Twitter is sharing. Don’t be afraid to follow someone that you just barely know or don’t know at all. For instance, I followed my husband’s boss when he began a new job. We’ve had some playful exchanges and it’s made our infrequent dinner meetings more comfortable because I’m more familiar with him.
Seek out people that are interested in the same things you are. That way, your homepage will always contain content updates from your network of contacts that you’re interested in. The search page is incredibly easy to use. Search for your hobbies, interests and people in your professional industry. I follow several interior designers because of my love for decorating and tablescaping. I also follow plenty of recruiters and recruitment bloggers (for obvious reasons). You’d also be surprised by how many celebrities are on Twitter. I follow @Paula_Deen and she keeps me laughing suga! By expanding your network of web connections, you’ll quickly learn more about your interests through other’s tweets. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from @cheezhead and @jimstroud.
Gain a better perspective by going to the search page and looking at the trending topics. Twitter runs semantic text analysis on tweets to see what everyone is talking about. By reading everyone’s view on the top trending topics, you can see past your bubble of contacts and understand world events, pop culture and breaking news through the eyes of others.
Twitter’s traffic surged during Obama’s inauguration while Google and Flickr saw a decrease in traffic. There’s something to be said about that! It can be awe inspiring to view a snapshot of such a large group of people across the globe tweeting about events in REAL TIME. Twitter isn’t a delayed newscast or a polished blog entry. It’s instantaneous. Tweeps broke the news about the crash landing of flight 1549, the Mumbai attacks and provided real time coverage of the presidential election.
Most breaking news events have an associated hashtag. Hashtags evolved from the need to create temporary groups on Twitter. To create a hashtag, place the # symbol before the subject you’re tweeting about. For example, #inauguration emerged as the main hashtag for the Inauguration. Hashtags enable you to follow all tweets regarding one subject or event.
Of course you can also keep current on the happenings of the world by using Twitter bots. There are several news media announcement bots, CNN, ESPN, NBC News… the list goes on and on. These bots simply broadcast a message. There’s no interaction required from the Twitter user. Another type of bot is the command bot. These bots require the user to send a direct message in order to get information. Remember The Milk is my favorite direct message bot. If you send it a message with a task that you need to remember to complete, it will send you a reminder. You can even send task to other people.
But aside from all its’ other uses, Twitter is for fun! I follow @ICHCheezburger for pictures of cats with funny captions. They really are hilarious. So, don’t be a Fail Whale, give Twitter a try and discover for yourself all the benefits of being part of such an open global network. I tweet as @KatieNewland and I would love to follow you!