I wouldn’t say that there are many people these days that haven’t at least heard the name “Twitter“, even if they don’t know what it means. Put simply, Twitter is a social networking experience that exposes people to information from and about other people that you may not otherwise learn.
I’ve had a Twitter account since September 2008, but it wasn’t until recently, when it became more mainstream, that I found how much I could benefit from it. I have quite a few people in my life who haven’t heard of Twitter, and even more who are dead set against it. Recent pleads for them to become Tweeple and join the Twitterverse have made me think critically about why I love it so much. This post isn’t going to explain what Twitter is or how to use it or what celebrities are Tweeting, but rather, it will simply give you my opinion on why you should join us, and why Twitter is the future!
When I first joined Twitter, I wasn’t concentrating on who to follow, or where I was going to get my tidbits of news. It was on my mind, but it wasn’t my focus. In the beginning, when I was only following three people, and only had one person following me, what surprised me most was how fast and convenient it was. With today’s desire to get everything from information to food as fast as we can, I thought it was a great foundation for the system. As soon as someone posted “Just got home from a run!”, everyone who was following them could know, anywhere in the world. What’s better is the fact that you can choose to check updates every minute, hold off, and absorb everything at the end of the day, or anything in between. The fact that we have the option, depending on what we want to get out of Twitter and how we want to use it, is a fantastic aspect!
Once I started to get a feel of how Twitter worked, I found myself eager to get started following people. Needless to say, I was very excited, as should anyone who starts using Twitter after Facebook, to find that you can friend most anyone on Twitter, no questions asked. I can keep up on what my high school friend is up to in Ontario, or my tech idol is doing in California, without all kinds of bells and whistles.
The main reason that my friends give me for not joining Twitter is that they don’t like the idea of their information open to the public. I can understand why they wouldn’t, but such feelings of paranoia don’t apply here. First of all, Twitter is all about exchanging information. I would expect that the last thing the creators would want is for people to put out information that they don’t want other people to have. It’s completely in your control what people see and don’t see. Not only that, you can secure your profile, so that only people you authorize can view your Tweets or profile information. Lastly, it doesn’t make sense to hate on Twitter for people reading your public Tweets, and then turn around and accept any Facebook friend request that you’re sent.
If you’re considering joining Twitter, it’s likely that you’re thinking about how much time you could “waste” reading what people Tweet all day. I know that you don’t have all day to sit at your computer and stare at a timeline, which is why mobile Twitter is so handy. Twitter has been optimized to run on most mobile web browsers, without compromising any functionality , but still making it suited for the various tiny screens. This just makes it so convenient for you to read you friend’s Tweet about being stuck in traffic, while you’re on the subway.
I wouldn’t have thought so at first, but Twitter can also be used to share experiences. Not (usually) directly, of course, but I’ve seen Twitter used to plan and promote events, share pictures as things happen, and even, in one extreme case, monitor crimes in progress. Websites such as TwtApps develop Twitter-specific business social media applications, such as TwtVite. Various photo services, such as the TwitPic allow you to upload photos, either from your computer or mobile phone, and share them with your followers via a direct link. Many Twitterers uses this service, and others like it, to document their day and other social events.
I have to start a new paragraph for this, because it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever read about. Internet television producer Revision 3‘s COO David Prager recently fell victim to trespassing and harassment by what appeared to be a drunk 20-year-old male, wandering outside his LA apartment. Rather than call the police on this clearly disoriented man who simply wanted to use Prager’s bathroom and bed, Prager decided to begin Tweeting his experience with the world. 18 updates and a UStream video later, David Prager has made internet history. You can read a more detailed article of the event here.
I hope that you are going to join Twitter, or if you’re already signed up, I hope that you’re going to stick with it. Everyone and their mom can find some use for this social network, so why not try?