"I just don't get Twitter," I remember saying to Tim when I first started my account in the spring of '08.
"It all seems a bit narcissistic - tweeting or twitting or whatever-you-want-to-call-it about your life. And, besides, I wouldn't be able to keep up with all of those updates. Oh, and people on Twitter must be on the computer all day long!"
Fast forward to a few months ago. "Twitter is awesome," I say to Tim, "I like it better than Facebook, actually."
I came full circle, my friends, and I'm here to tell you why Twitter is terrific. I'm going to chirp out its merits and - who knows? maybe you'll want to start a little nest of your own.
1. Twitter strengthens relationships. A number of my friends are on Twitter and I love that I can get a quick peek into their lives. It's also ideal for sending short messages to friends, eliminating the need for old-school e-mail. For example, I sent a message to @medarcie on Friday and asked her family to come to lunch.
2. Twitter is a powerful way to use your consumer voice. Most major brands are on Twitter and they are listening to what people are saying. So if you say "I went to @Safeway today and the service was outstanding, but the produce was just so-so"...there's a good chance Safeway will reply directly to you (See...WAY cooler than Facebook!).
3. Twitter cancels out the need for newspapers and magazines. Most local and national news networks are on Twitter. Follow them and you'll get instant news at your fingertips. It's much faster than skimming through pages of a print publication (and there are no ads!), not to mention the fact that you'll get news that is more customized to your interests. Take The Wall Street Journal, for example. You can choose to follow Breaking Headlines, Life & Style, World Markets, UK news, take-your-pick from 55+ categories.
4. Twitter can save you time and money. Let's say you're looking for a 5K running plan. Or you need a cool idea for a science fair project for your kid. Or you want to find the best restaurant with a kids-eat-free deal in your city. Tweet-Tweet. Then, wait for recommendations. Oh, yeah, I should clarify: By "wait"...I mean, like, two minutes.
6. Twitter allows you to raises awareness for causes closes to your heart. Are you passionate about breastfeeding, education, cancer awareness, or abolishing poverty? Get on Twitter. You can follow (and converse with) politicians, relevant non-profits, and fellow activists. You can even plan a local TweetUp to further your cause. I'm going to do a little shout-out to the American Red Cross (@RedCross) in this paragraph because - FYI - March is Red Cross Month.
7. Twitter can get you job offers and clients. I went to dinner at Napa Rose with @MicheleDortch a few months ago. Over wine and swordfish, she said, "I've gotten multiple job offers and freelance work because of Twitter." Whenever she needs a new project, she'll just tweet out a little note about her expertise or a link to her CV...and then see what happens. I'm sure it helps that she has a masters degree and is tremendously talented and all, but we can all learn from her smarts and connectivity.
8. Twitter can help reassure you that you're not alone. A couple of weekends ago, I went to breakfast with @myapronstrings and @OurCrazyBoys. When we talked about Twitter, one of us at the table said something to the effect of, "It's kind of nice to know that I'm not the only one who wants to throw my teenage son out into the snow from time-to-time." Priceless, no?
Want To Follow My Tweets? I am: @stephsday.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you use Twitter? Why or why not?
***If you have questions about Twitter, ask them here and I'll try to get to them in a future post (No question is too silly. K?).