Hi Everyone, For those of you still sitting on the fence about Twitter, I thought I would share a little about what I have learnt so far...
1. It's Super Easy
Once you have your account, and you take a minute to learn how to shorten URLs/website addresses (try TinyURL or bit.ly), it is incredibly easy to type a 140-character message and tell the world your latest discovery.
2. It's Great For Keeping Up
Given that the messages are so short, it is very easy to keep up with what your friends are saying, or what others in your industry or interest groups are saying, just by following those people that might have 'news' for you.
Then every time you scan the 'news' from people who you follow, from their tweets which come to your Twitter account, you can retweet anything newsworthy in just a few seconds. It's brilliant: you can boost your own reputation for being 'in the know' and sharing valuable information just by retweeting. I pinch myself at how easy it is to do that.
3. It's Personal
Much to my surprise, Twitter can actually be quite personal. Instead of seeing just an email address on your blog subscription list, you get to not only see a photo (usually) of the person following you, but you can also click immediately on their profile to read their tweets, send a message to them, see who is following them and even follow them if you choose to (so they can message you directly and/or so you can just keep up with their tweets in the future). Again, you are learning who else is 'out there' and it's only taking you a few minutes.
Expat Michelle Fabio @michellefabio concurs:
"Twitter has deepened my relationships that previously had been conducted only through blog comments. Twitter really gives you an opportunity to nurture relationships built throughout the Internet and also find new ones based on similar interests. Plus it's so much fun!"
4. It's Fun
Twitter is much more fun than I expected. As soon as you learn something, you can share it within a minute or two. Once you are following friends or peers that do the same, there are lots of interesting 'learnings' being shared in 140 characters or less. It's fabulous.
Expat Jennifer @louloufrance wrote to me:
"[Twitter is] an excellent way of exchanging information about the subjects I'm interested in (cooking, cheese, France, wine, travel) as well as keeping up to date on news stories.... I love it!"
"A friend of mine started with Twitter and was about to give up on it [but] asked me for my thoughts on the media and after telling her how I used it to glean information she ended up finding a whole group of people in her field (TESL) and now says that it has renewed her interest in her career and has introduced her to new avenues that she would never discovered without Twitter."
5. It Saves You Time
Sure, you need to put aside time to read and write tweets. But, we are only talking about 140-character tweets. Super small. Super easy to scan, read and write, compared to researching all of those people's blogs/newsletters/websites that you would like to keep up with and then deciding if anything they say is 'newsworthy'.
Again, the more people you follow, the more 'news' that will come direct to your Twitter inbox, rather than you searching for it - saving your precious time and energy.
6. It Can Slow Your Blogging
On the negative side... unfortunately, I am finding that it is just so quick to tweet information out to the world, that that's where I am typing my/our news first. Then, if I don't have time to explain it all via a blog post when I tweet it, the blog post (usually, but not always) follows, but maybe the next day or the next week even. For everyone subscribed to this blog, I apologise and promise to try harder in that respect, so that I am not too far behind on the blog, compared to Twitter (smile).
On the positive side... in the past, if I had not had time to blog I simply would not share anything that I had learned until I did have time to blog. At least now, me and others like me, can share on Twitter straight away. So that has to be a good thing, right?
My Prediction: I predict that because of the ease of Twittering, blog owners who twitter will slow down with less regular blog posts. Whilst blog news might then fall a few days behind, for many of us who subscribe to various blog and newsletter feeds, perhaps a few less (but more consolidated) blog updates might not necessarily be a bad thing, as blog owners might focus their blog posts on truly valuable topics and post anything less newsworthy in just a 140-character Twitter update. Then anyone wanting news when it's super-hot and fresh, can read it on Twitter in the interim.
Maybe it's much like the tortoise and the hare... they'll both get to the finish line in the end, it just depends who wants to get there faster. ;-)
Follow me on Twitter @andreaexpat