Monday, February 02, 2009

What Kind of Twit am I?

A very cold weekend and an extremely snowy Monday morning left me with the time to explore something I'd promised to do for some time. I'm now officially a Twit (or something like that, I'm still getting used to the jargon!)

Despite months of resistance I have finally joined the ever-growing Twitter community. I'd originally passed on yet another social network, with concerns about the validity of sharing single sentence status updates, telling people when I'm going to the loo and of replicating what already takes up far too much of my time on Facebook.

The language of ReTweets, Twitbacks, TinyURLs et al also put me off this other universe. Yet it was always going to get way or another.

In November I signed up for a webinar on Using Twitter for Marketing from Hubspot and I have subsequently listened to fellow business experts such as Alan Stevens and Rod Sloane tweet about how much Twitter is benefiting their businesses. Despite rumours to the contrary, it was these influences and not the promotion of Twitter by stars such as Jonathan Ross ('Wossy') or Stephen Fry that lured me in!

So, early impressions? I've been surprised at quite how many people I know who are already on Twitter. A lot of them I knew about but there was clearly a party going on and I hadn't accepted my invite! From a relationship-building perspective, it should certainly help consolidating some existing relationships and develop new ones by providing further opportunities for conversation and interaction.

There seems to be a strange etiquette on Twitter that if someone 'Follows' you (they opt to receive all of your updates), you Follow them in return. This can mean you find yourself following all manner of people in who you don't have much interest, and create more 'noise' which could hide the updates you really want to see.

Many would argue that you do need to build and expand your network on Twitter to really gain the benefits; the style of connecting certainly appears to be a lot more random than other networks.

Twitter certainly provides a great way to access new blogs and information of interest, as people share news and articles with each other.

The major concern is the level of distraction. I think it's important to understand how much time needs to be invested in Twitter to get a return and what that return is likely to be. Time will tell.

There are a range of resources on how, and why, to use Twitter. I particularly like this blog by Nikki Pilkington explaining how she uses it to all new 'Followers'.

I would be interested in your views on using Twitter. Are you a heavy Tweeter? Do you get much from it? Or have you avoided it like the plague? If so, why?

For the Twitter experts, what would your top Twip be?!

There's no doubt that Twitter is here to stay, for the moment anyway. As I type this, the conversation on Radio 5 Live is all about how Twitter is being used to discuss the current weather conditions. The cold and snow may have adversely affected some businesses. I get the feeling that Twitter isn't one of them.

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