It’s no surprise, technology is evolving fast. What was once the biggest and best is rapidly evolving or else facing certain death. Myspace has exited its status as a social network (in my opinion) and evolved into a music showcase. Facebook is no longer for the college elite, but rather for all who have an email address. Numerous other companies such as digg, yelp, stumble upon, delicious, linkedin, and youtube have become regularly trafficked sites.
In 2007, Twitter was incorporated and became the site we see today. So what is Twitter and why do I care? Twitter simply answer the question, “What am I doing?” You elect to follow people and their updates as well as allowing others to follow you.
I’m not sure anyone anticipated Twitter becoming the information hub it is today. At first a simple way to say whatever random thing you were doing, now an information highway segmented to your every need. Of course you can still say random things, and believe me people do.
Let me give a few examples: I’m interested in higher education and social media, so I search for those terms and found people who were posting links to interesting articles regularly and followed them. Their updates appear in my home screen and I learn based on the links they share. I also love seeing what celebrities do on a daily basis. The best person by a mile to follow on Twitter is Shaq. His updates are ridiculously honest and funny, pictures often included.
Those few things being said, here are some important things to consider:
1. If you are going to start Twittering, the more updates with valuable content, the better. People will recognize what you offer and thus expand your network. The more people you interact with through your content, the more content you get each day.
2. If you are concerned that this is just another place for you to go, there are several programs like ping.fm that allow you to update your status in one place. Also, programs like tweetdeck, enhance the benefits of Twitter by at least 10-fold (I would definitely download this one).
3. Twitter will inevitably be what you make of it. If you actively search people out provide good posts regularly, it can be very beneficial. If you let it fall by the wayside, you’ll just think it’s dumb.
4. Familiarize yourself with the terminology. Between tweets, direct messages, @ replies, tiny urls, and the relentless number of programs out there that make Twitter easier (if that’s conceivably possible), there is a lot to take in. But don’t worry, it’s easy and people are more then willing to help.
5. Always share. The content you gain is only as good as the content you give. If you expect other people to post good links to articles, be willing to post several yourself. If you like being entertained by others, make sure you are entertaining as well…unless you’re not funny.
So, how does it make me smarter? Everyday I devote about an hour to reading the articles, blogs, statistics, charts, etc. that are posted by some of my favorite tweeters. I am getting all the content I could want on very specific topics, deliverd to one place, where otherwise I would never have found any because of the time it would take to search and filter through what was good and what was bad.
There are several links in this post, so check them out and hopefully you will be on your way into the Twitter world soon.