Twitter – The Simplest Little Big Complicated Website in the World

Out my Window (by Paul Keleher)

Twitter: What it is, why you need it, and how you can use it to change your world

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a website that lets visitors write short messages (limited to 140 characters) that answer the perennial question: What are you doing?

Twitter began as a way for employees to communicate within organisations, but gradually expanded as a way for friends, colleagues and contacts to share their news, thoughts and interesting discoveries with each other.

If you want to have a conversation online, you might use email or instant messaging. But if you want other people to ‘overhear’ your conversation, allowing them to join in, then Twitter is the perfect medium.

Twitter is becoming an inspirational source of connections, helping like-minded people unite for social change, good causes and business shenanigans.

Why should you use Twitter?

At first glance, Twitter might appear to be a hyperactive torrent of random thoughts. But it’s much more than that. You can use Twitter to do many things, including:

  • Let colleagues and clients get to know you as a person
  • Open communication channels between your organisation and the public
  • Demonstrate your intelligence/wit/charm/(insert good quality here)
  • Find new partners, volunteers, members and clients

Why do other people use Twitter?

We asked these questions…

  • @leifkendall Asking: Why do YOU use Twitter? Why?! #
  • @premasagar Doing a little research… Tell me, why do YOU use Twitter? #

…which very quickly led to these responses (and more):

  • @mattlambert Hi Leif – twitter is human moderated search, I get to find stuff I didn’t even know I wanted. Plus, a personal radio #
  • @helenbaker I use Twitter in the hope of learning something new! I like the trying-to-be-useful Tweets, not the tells-me-nothing ones. #
  • @TraceyDooley First it was curiosity. Then it was an addiction. Now I intend to build good relations (I hope!) with people AND poss clients #
  • @ThirdSectorLab I use twitter to learn from all the knowledgable people in the twittersphere and [hopefully] to contribute as well. #
  • @eggboxrobin Would love to help, but can’t say why I use Twitter in 140 chars! To stay informed, meet new interesting peeps, feel connected.. #
  • @catherinepope I use Twitter in lieu of real colleagues. The virtual variety is much easier to filter out! #
  • @theanxy Staying close to people, sharing information easier and faster, discovering new resources from interesting bloggers. #
  • @cathyma To keep track of the minds of smart people and to share exciting quirks online #
  • @stevebridger It’s like having better brains on tap, and I work alone, so it helps me feel connected – I call it ‘alone together’
  • @Robpermeable For tidbits of info, useful urls, and connecting with people in my sector (charity and PR) #
  • @jellyslastjam Initially to see what the fuss was about, now I’ve been sucked in and can’t help myself. #

As you can see, people have many personal and commercial reasons for using Twitter – but don’t just take our word for it, the web abounds with useful articles on Twitter (such as this excellent one).

One thing’s for sure – now that Twitter has broken into the mainstream, playing its part in citizen journalism, charity fundraising and Barack Obama’s legendary social media success (he’s by far the most followed Twitterer), it’s not going away any time soon.

So, do YOU use Twitter? Why?

Leif Kendall is a freelance copywriter, “micro-storyteller”, proud dad and avid Twitterer.

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5 CommentsRSS Feed

  1. Twitter is a great way to get a sense of what is happening in your area of interest. If you care about “bacon” do a Twitter search for “bacon” and save the results as an RSS or a Tweetdeck search. Every time “bacon” is mentioned, you will see who mentioned it and what they said.

  2. I am tempted by all the positive comments about Twitter and as a lonely (although that doesn’t necessarily mean unhappy) gardener aching to share my random thoughts and anecdotes I probably will investigate before the day is out!

  3. I have never really understand how to make twitter work, but nowdays it seems more and more everywhere, I really should further into this…

  4. Giochi

    I like Twitter
    it’s a great way to get a sense of what is happening in your area of interest.

  5. Lisa

    I agree with Giochi, if you have a specialist or niche area, its a quick and effective way to disseminate information to peers. The frequent ‘tweeting’ by many users means a constant stream of information coming from a human source not a faceless news page, thats how I feel twitter differs from other applications.

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