I’ve had this post waiting in the hopper for a while but was inspired by Tony’s post to finally throw it out there.
You can view my Twitter page here. I opened an account with Twitter a long time ago. After a few weeks of using it lightly I wondered what the big deal was. It’s really not that great. I’d post something once every few days, but really didn’t see the point.
Then I came back to it a few months later. I had a client ask me about using it as a business tool so I decided to really give it a shot. The first step was keeping it updated. Like a blog, if you don’t keep it updated regularly, it doesn’t really do much for you. So I began to tweet (as the Twitter vernacular goes). Sometimes it would be updates on what I was doing. Sometimes just questions I had. Sometimes I would simply write out short thoughts that didn’t really have a place here on the blog. More often than not, I write about food I’m preparing to stuff in my mouth.
So after a week of writing I realized I’d posted a bunch. Did anyone really notice, though? There was no discernible feedback on my end. If someone posts on Twitter and no one is watching, does it make a sound?
At this point I decided to explore a little more. I’d grasped the fun of posting what I’m doing but do people really see it? You’ll notice if you click on anyone else’s page, there’s a button that says “follow.” So I searched for a few people I knew that used Twitter. I decided to follow them. Suddenly every time they posted it showed up on my home page so I could see what they were doing. Wow, kind of cool. Now I can easily keep up with what others are doing to. I added a few more people and before I knew it had a short list of folks I followed. It was like a peak inside their lives. Their updates can be funny, useless, heartbreaking, informational. Anything really.
Then it happened. I got an e-mail that said someone was following me. Really? Who the heck would want to follow me? So I clicked over to their page. Oh, it’s someone who does design. Cool. They like the same things I like. And it started to build from there. I would occasionally add a new person and people would find me too. As of today I follow 21 people (including Darth Vader) and have 33 people following my updates.
And the best part is you can respond to what other people write. It becomes a type of chat room.
So, as Tony says, this is one more thing that takes time. He’s not wrong about that. It does take some time. Like blogging you have to decide if there’s value in it and know that it will take a little time. So what’s the value in it? I’ve found it’s one more way to connect with people. Take this guy for example. Before David started following me on Twitter I didn’t know him. Once we connected through Twitter I discovered we’re both in ministry and have a love of all things Apple. (Plus he used Twitter to turn me on to Mad Men for which I’m grateful.) Are we friends in the traditional meaning of the word? Not really. I’ve never met him in person and probably won’t. But we’ve occasionally talked back and forth and I’ve even found myself praying for him once in a while when he’s asked for it on Twitter.
It seems odd, but these digital connections people can make through things like Twitter can mean something.
I agree with Tony. MySpace and Facebook at least for me are a complete waste of time. Twitter, however, is something I’ve found to be very valuable.
And if you want to make it easier to use (and you use a Mac) download Twitterrific. It sits unobtrusively on your desktop and allows you to keep up with the feeds and post new updates when you have time.
Time wise, I will spend less time total on Twitter today than I have preparing this post. Not a bad trade-off if you find value in it.