I have to admit that up until about a month ago, I totally didn't "get" Twitter. I thought it was the most ridiculous waste of time. I scoffed at those who embraced Twitter, all the while quietly wondering why the site continues to grow and why more and more people sign up for accounts and inevitably follow random people across the internet.
I finally succumbed one day, when I realized it might be a nice way to get word out about my jewelry and maybe make a few random connections here and there.
I've been on for over a month now, and I have to admit that the charm of Twitter has finally drawn me in.
It's like having one giant chat window open with all of your AIM, Yahoo, msn, and other instant messengering friends right there in one window. People talk across the room, and you meet new people quickly and easily. Those with the most followers (who aren't celebrities) typically have entire conversations on Twitter, and if you engage in this behavior, you'll end up growing your follow list exponentially.
It's kinda like the virtual version of hanging out at a really cool party... and if you choose, you can be the life of the party, a groupie for the life of the party, a wall flower who just watches everything going on, or you can hang with your small group of friends, occasionally exchanging words with others, but mostly sticking with those you know.
You can easily spend an entire day on Twitter, and many people do just that.
It's insane. I actually had about 30 people 'follow' me today. Thirty. In one day. That's how fast my list is growing... all because I take the time to ask about people, try to say funny things, and I very rarely promote my business... so that when I DO promote it-- people will actually click the link.
There are themes on Twitter-- like #followfriday, which is essentially a tag you add to a tweet that people can click, instantly displaying a list of tweets with that tag. #followfriday usually happens on-- as you might expect-- Friday. The tag is pretty self-explanatory-- users tweet a recommendation for others on their list to follow. It can be viral. Here's where I show my dorkiness and say that I'd like to be recommended some time!
Yeah, I'm goofy. I know.
I've never been "cool", but the nice thing with Twitter is that you don't have to be. There's no time to dwell on who's cool and who isn't. You either follow me, or you don't. And if you get tired of someone, just unfollow them. Simple as that.
Twitter does have its down sides-- it's a time vortex, to be certain. The conversation can never go too deep, and if you look away for more than a couple of minutes, you've missed an entire page of tweets... which usually means missing out on conversation and connection, too.
So... tweet carefully. Grow your follow list by being real, engaging people in conversation (just like you would face-to-face), and select who you follow carefully.
Like anything else in life... Twitter is whatever you make it. It can work for you, against you, or do nothing at all. You never know where it could lead, and I have come to realize that-- just as in all aspects of life, it's best not to rule out the possibilities.
For what it's worth... here's NY Times article about Twitter. Basically, it says what I said here, only much more thoroughly and far more eloquently.