Intro to Twitter - What is it and why should I care? (Part 1)

Over the next few weeks I will be posting a series of posts to help people delve into the world of Twitter.  I hope you’ll follow along!

Twitter is am amazing tool. It has literally changed my life both professionally and personally. People don’t get how it works though and that’s understandable…it’s not really obvious.

Twitter - put simply - is microblogging. It’s a place where you can talk about the things that you are doing online and in small, 140 character bites. (Here is my Twitter page if you want to have a look.)

The bigger question then becomes WHY?

Many people who don’t use Twitter just can’t understand the concept. “What is the point? Who cares?? I don’t get it!!”

If you were to stand in the mall yelling out random things about yourself:

  • “I’m meeting my friend Jenny for lunch. Any recommendations?”
  • “Are there any good sales on shoes in this mall?”

You’re unlikely to get any response beyond funny looks. If, however, you are at the mall with a group of your friends and you had any of those questions, someone would try to help you with the answers.

The same goes for Twitter.  If you don’t know anyone who is using Twitter- the above questions are likely going to go out into the twitterverse unanswered. (Made up words starting with “tw” are just a fun part of twitter; I’m afraid you’re going to have to put up with me using them often.)

However, if you have a large group of people who follow you on twitter and you say something like that, you may very well get a lot of response with advice, tips, etc.

  • “I love Taco Del Mar - say hi to Jenny for me!”
  • “Check out the amazing deals at The Bay!”

Twitter, when used properly, is a community, a social network, a support group, and a lot of fun. It is a goldmine of information, ideas and connections.

But as mentioned above, Twitter isn’t always obvious – it can be confusing to use, navigate, and understand when you start out!

In subsequent posts I will go through how to sign up for a Twitter account.  Once you have your Twitter account you’ll want to know how you find people to follow and how you get people to follow you back.  We’ll discuss the symbols, terminology mean and cover some of the tools people use to manage Twitter, such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, to twtvite and twitpic.

What are some of the benefits you’ve discovered from using Twitter?