5 Things To Do That Make Twitter a Useful Application
Posted by beansbox in Digital on May 20, 2009

Twitter has become part of the mainstream social media. It has spawned new vocabulary terms like tweeps, tweets and more. People from almost all walks of life (artists, NBA players, US government agencies) and all ages (from a baby in the womb to a 104 year old woman) and used on a variety of purposes (was the reason why Jennifer Aniston broke up with John Mayer, used to gauge whether Ashton Kutcher is more popular than CNN and was first to report the emergency landing of US Airways plane at Hudson River in New York City.)

Perhaps you have a more interesting, more weird, or more enduring stories to share about this application. So there is no need to expand the list.

However, if you haven't been immersed into the Twitter craze, don't worry. It's better to keep quiet than add to the noise many people are sharing through Twitter medium. And I am not even talking about spammers who now comb the application to harvest email addresses. Worse, careers, reputation and future could be at stake in every unsuspecting Twitter update gone bad.
Instead of trying hard to jump into the bandwagon and get involved, let's try to observe how we make Twitter useful to ourselves and to others:

1 Monitor conversations on topics that interest you. Use Twitter Search to scan everyone's public updates about you, your company, and others that matter to you. Search for your name or your company name and respond to the update if you can. You can meet friends (and follow them) who share same interest with you (I would like to search for Seinfeld or Simpsons conversations).

2 Ask and answer questions. You don't know where to find shops that sell old Hong Kong coins or calligraphy lessons? You can post your question through a Twitter update. I often found answers for most questions I ask. If you're in the mood to answer questions, you may search terms you probably have great deal of comprehension and share what you know. This is one way to find a friend online.

3 Reach target audience as you  promote an event. The SEO seminar we did last March was a blast, even eliciting complaints that the venue was too small for the gathering. That's simply because the turnout exceeded expectations. And thanks to Twitter, we reached interested individuals who may otherwise be unreachable through other means. But of course, we shouldn't always be self-serving by posting updates that promote ourselves; we should also share what we know.

4 Expand professional relationships through sharing. It's not uncommon to interact with many many online folks that we haven't met yet. Twitter enhances and nurtures such interactions into meaningful relationships. Remember Twitter exists not primarily to make us famous. As we continue to post sensible nuggets of information, share insightful website content and care about others through responding to questions or posting retweets (RTs), we will soon be recognized and once the chance to meet these folks offline becomes a reality, you don't need to do a lot of introduction; your Twitter persona should take care of that. For a shy person like me, at least I know how to start a conversation.

5 Update followers/customers/fans. It's easy to notify everyone on what's new with you, your product releases, upcoming events and disseminate information. Email updates can be tedious, and SMS can be costly. Using the 140 character limit, your message is brief and direct to the point. Followers can subscribe to RSS feeds and learn what's up with you in real time.

Twitter can be a distraction to some and addiction to others. But let's ensure that we spend our time wisely and exploit the benefits of Twitter. After all, everyone is using it. It must be good!

Photo credit: action datsun


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