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Somewhere in 2008, I decided to give twitter a try. Like most people I was curious – what is so special about this thing anyway? So I signed up, which wasn’t hard at all. Then I sat there twiddling my thumbs and wondering – hmm. 

And I did nothing further. 

And I logged out. 

Number of tweets – Zero. 140 characters be damned. 

My dilemma, like many people, I do not have any friends on twitter. What can I say, we are weird this way, a bunch of overexcited workaholics who hardly ever get on to facebook. We are not the really out-there social types. 

My a-ha moment came sometime last month. Give twitter another try, only this time, do it for social networking with likeminded souls, not necessarily friends. YAY. I don’t need a life to go on twitter. I can follow random people. 

Twitter is an (amazing) tool for information and marketing. Listen and engage. 

#1 Twitter is not like facebook – you don’t need friends on twitter

If you are hesitant to give twitter a try, then consider this, on facebook you only have people who you know – known as your friends. On twitter, you can follow anyone who catches your interest. You don’t have to know them and vice versa. Say you are interested in collecting old books, you will find people on twitter who do the same. You are big on watercolour painting, well there are tons of artists on twitter you can network with. Bet you wanna try searching for interests now. Search #keyword. ( # helps people categorize messages.)

#2 Twitter is not like instant messenger – you are not bound

If you are like most people, you don’t have time to go on online and have chats with people you hardly know. Well, that’s the beauty of twitter, you don’t have to. 

Twitter is about ‘ambient intimacy’. You maintain a meaningful connection with people without having to respond to anything. It’s still good to, but you don’t have to.

Imagine going outside for a walk. You see people walking past talking to each other. It’s a bit like eavesdropping on them AS YOU PASS THEM. You might say something to people ahead of you (if they are listening to you – as in following you), and you could hear things people are saying if you are following them. 

It can be loads of fun – if these people mean something to you. Say you find out your favourite blogger is getting married and you decide to pop over and say congrats. You hear somebody has launched an ebook you might be tempted to check it out. Oooh, you coud overhear people saying nice things about you. That would probably make your day.

I have started to follow all bloggers I have subscribed to, writers, minimalists, social media people, booklovers etc etc. At one time I might get on and find Darren Rowse of Problogger posting something – which he does a lot by the way – he is a prolific tweeter. I might tweet mentioning somebody’s name (Add @nameofperson ) and they will see it, and so will others. So it’s a very public way of showing affection or ill feelings for that matter. 

Going back to our twitter walk, you go there when it suits you and respond or post if you want to. Tweets are not connected to each other and you are not required to keep track of all the tweets, no one can. People following thousand’s of people will have a continuos flow of tweets appearing in their timeline (the main window, where new tweets appear in real time). 

You can also tell others what you heard – as in retweet the original message (RT message) 

#3 Twitter keeps you in the know

You get to hear all sorts of news that now sometimes break on twitter first. You get to hear news from your favourite bloggers, writers, celebrities and the like. Twitter can be your instant service for the latest news, happening before your eyes.

#4 Twitter is good for your blog

Twitter is good for business, or for broadening your circle of hobby –ers. If you want to bounce off ideas for your new business you want to set up, you will find likeminded people to talk to. It also helps to spread word about your blog – and that’s NEVER a bad thing.

Are you on twitter? Do you like it? Hate it? Want to give it a go? Here is what you can do 

  • Go on to twitter and make yourself a username. Fill your profile as it will help people decide if you want to follow you back.
  • Have you got friends or colleagues on twitter? That’s good, start following them.
  • Do you follow blogs? Start following them. Start following me @WritingH. I usually tweet about all things OTHER than blogging. :)
  • Do you like any particular celebrities, sports people, tv and media personalities, journalists, etc etc. Find them and follow them. 
  • Spend 5 minutes at a time following what people are saying. Soon, you will start to get an idea of what to respond to, what to retweet and so on. You can start tweeting from the beginning. The more you tweet, the more people will follow you. 

So, what is your twitter id? Let me know and I would be happy to follow you!

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