Wassup is the most asked question among pals and one that provides answers from ‘nothing much’ to ‘thinking about the meaning of life’.
But what if you have too-long a friend-list and can’t ask all your pals this all-important life-changing-question?
Enter twitter. It’s a site that basically ‘wassup’s your friends all day long and lets you read their answers if you choose to subscribe (follow: in twitter parlance).
Twitter lets you publish updates about your life in 140 characters or less to family or friends who choose to follow you. (people on your twitter contact list are called followers)
All you need to do is answer the question. ‘what are you doing?’ through your phone, messenger, site or even email.
‘Life happens between blogs and email’
As Common Craft puts it, ‘Life happens between blog posts and emails’. And it is this life between the blog and email that twitter lets you publish.
While many people send out updates like “had an amazing cup of coffee” or “going for a jog”, twitter is increasingly being used by people to share their thoughts and links to things they are reading.
There are many benefits to twitter, other than of course keeping up with the lives of your pals.
For one, it’s easy. With technology at our beck and call, we’re pretty much a lazy people. Blogs of 300 words or more are passé with people turning to micro-blogging from the comfort (or the stylus-inflicted awkwardness) of their mobile phones.
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s twitter!
Twitter recently saved a man from jail and got an unemployed person the job of his dreams. A man who was jailed in Egypt sent frantic tweets (updates) and his ‘followers’ (contacts) mobilized forces to get him out of jail. Another man in the US sent out a minute-by-minute update of the day he was laid off by Yahoo! His followers were glued to their screens as he sent updates about packing his belongings, meeting HR and leaving office. Before he knew it, job offers from helpful netizens were pouring in!
Of course this doesn’t mean that all the one million twitter members get such dramatic results through their tweets. Why then does twitter generate so much interest?
Thoughts. Ideas. Conversations.
Twitter ignites new thinking, conversations and ideas. It allows people from across the world to come together and share their thoughts and lives. It brings together people and their ideas which lead to newer conversations and lines of thought.
Twitter lets you follow the most creative, bizarre, new-age thinkers on the internet. So if you’re bored of getting the same old updates from friends, you can follow some CEOs, inventors, thinkers.
Follow Scott Goodson (CEO, Strawberry Frog) on twitter and
you’ll get updates about what he’s reading, thinking or doing. It’s pretty much like being with the person 24*7, only that they choose what you get to see.
Twitter’s also great for self promotion and resource sharing. You can send updates about your company, your work or share links to resources that are of value to you and your followers.
Brands too have jumped headlong into twitter and few are faring well.
Some twitter users believe that brands that exist on twitter are ‘lame’ since they aren’t people and are pretending to be part of a conversation where big corporates don’t belong.
American airline, Delta Airlines is on twitter and sends our tweets about offers, promos and other airline related information.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of popular online company specializing in footwear – Zappos, is on twitter too, though his tweets are as much personal as professional. He has a whopping 7000+ followers. What that does f
or his brand is debatable, but here’s a CEO striking a conversation with his TG in a space of their choice.
Twitter it right
As much as I may love twitter, there are enough people who hate it. Complaints about receiving silly updates like ‘in the loo’, ‘eating a muffin’ are aplenty in twitter world. But then twitter is a network, and a network is only as good as the people in it. Pick the right ones to follow and you may just find yourself tweeting gladly in twitter world.
Oh and for those who hate the 140 character limit, there are always blogs…
PS: the Zappos CEO is now following me on twitter… it doesn’t mean much since he follows many, but it’s a step in the right direction for the brand.
NOTE: twitter works on the give and take principle, so follow a couple of people to have people follow you. You can’t hoard in the internet space you know!