Not a week goes in which I don’t hear someone say, “I’m not on Twitter. I just don’t see the point of it.” Admittedly, a couple of years ago, I was right there with these people. But A couple of things happened in the past couple of days that have inspired this post:
- I reached 1,000 followers on Twitter (probably some spammers in there, but whatever)
- Amber Naslund wrote an excellent post about Twitter: “Is This Real Life? In Defense of Our Virtual Connections”
As folks are wont to do this time of year, I decided these two events have given me reason to pause and reflect on how far I’ve come in the last year–really, the past two years since I joined Twitter. What jumped out to me from Amber’s post was this:
“Communications that happen on Twitter or Skype or Facebook or blogs or whatever are every bit as real as a conversation you might have over the phone or email… But relationships are complex and intricate, not linear. Electronic communication can be a very dynamic and legitimate part of them. And when we find people we love, care about, believe in or are interested by, those connections are not defined by the vehicle. They transcend them.”
Wow. I don’t think I could say it better myself. And I won’t try. I just wanted you to read that and perhaps read the rest of the post here. Here are three reasons I believe Twitter is “for real” (as I would say) and a great communications vehicle:
1. Twitter Gives You a Voice
Yes, it’s only 140 characters at a time, but Twitter is an excellent way to find your voice in the world. Twitter gives you:
- Unfettered (mostly) access to like-minded voices in just about every industry and interest you could possibly want.
- Informal focus groups for any ideas you may have.
- The ability to talk directly with companies (those who use social media correctly) whether for customer service concerns or other issues.
Twitter gave me the inspiration to start this blog, hence finding my voice within the email marketing space. The tool takes commitment to learn, but it’s worth the effort.
2. Twitter Provides Real Connections
I joined Twitter after attending the Email Evolution Conference in February 2009. In the 10-ish months that followed, I “met” a bunch of email marketers, started this blog, and got to know a lot of them. When I attend MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit in December of 2009, all of these friends and colleagues I had gotten to know through Twitter IMMEDIATELY recognized me in person.
Why was this awesome? Because being a known commodity going into a conference is so. much. easier. Instead of “Hi, here’s my business card,” it was “Hey man, nice to finally chat in person. How are things with the family?”
As Amber mentioned above, that’s real connection.
But the connections don’t stop with human interaction. Twitter can also connect you to opportunities.
For example, Twitter connected me to writing for the Inbox Group Blog, the Email Guide, and the Email Zoo. Twitter helped me build the connections to get on Email Radio, get a free pass to the Email Insider Summit, and receive constant advice about unique email marketing issues that arise at work. Again, it’s work, but it’s worth it.
3. Twitter Keeps You Informed and Entertained
When Michael Jackson died, the joke was that he “killed Twitter.” Nine times out of 10, I learn about news from Twitter.
Why? Twitter is a sharing mechanism. It’s faster and more open than Facebook, and the “power users” will share anything impactful.
You’ll also find interesting articles, videos, and blog posts you wouldn’t necessarily read or watch otherwise. I know I wouldn’t even know about half of the stuff I do now without Twitter. It’s that pervasive in my life (maybe to a fault, admittedly).
The bottom line is Twitter is immensely useful if you spend the time to learn its value.
Not convinced? Let me put it to you this way: My parents are on Twitter. There must be some value after all.
Agree? Disagree? Something to add?