I'm not sure how long I've been on Twitter, but I do know it didn't take long for Twitter to become my favorite form of social media.
When I first joined the ranks of those who speak in 140 characters or less, lots of people asked me the same question: Why? In fact, they often phrased it in the same way, "Why do you care to hear what people had for lunch?"
They were making a huge assumption that all anyone ever did on Twitter was say, "I just had a chicken-salad sandwich." Or, "Running carpool to the baseball field now."
I'd answer their question by explaining, "The people I follow don't tell me what they had for lunch."
The people I choose to follow on Twitter give me helpful information.
- They tell me which products or technologies have worked best for them.
- They tell me what they've read recently that's worth seeing, and give the link.
- They tell me what's going on in their industries. And in my industry.
- They tweet Bible verses or share their insight into the gospel.
- They answer my questions when I ask.
- They keep me abreast on breaking news.
- They tweet inspiring quotes.
- They make me laugh.
- They alert me when there's a new post on their blog - giving the topic and link should I be interested.
All this in a short, digestible, easy to skim format. I use TweetDeck to organize the tweets of those I follow. I sort people into lists with a separate column for each list: Publishing industry folks, P31 girlfriends, Insightful pastors, etc.
Twitter and TweekDeck have pretty much replaced blog subscriptions, Google Reader, and RSS feeds for me. And I waste less time Internet browsing now that I'm on Twitter.
Still don't believe Twitter is helpful? Check this:
By the way, I really want to know what book that guy is reading - it must be compelling!
So that's why I use Twitter. Because it's helpful, useful, entertaining and very doable for me.
I do have to confess that a couple months ago I started following some fellow foodies on Twitter. These are serious food industry types. And they sometimes do tweet what they had for lunch. Believe me their lunches are interesting! So now I have to revise my answer to the "Why do you care what people had for lunch" question.
My new answer is, "That's the beauty of Twitter. It gives you instant access to the people and information that YOU would like to have access to."
Twitter is like the world's coffee shop. Day or night there's community and conversation going on. And all you need is a twitter handle - and maybe a hashtag - to find the people you'd like to chat with and jump into the conversation. Stay awhile and sip a latte, or just get your coffee to go.
So are you on Twitter? If so, who are some of your favorite people to follow?
You can follow me at @RachelOlsen.