Twitter seems a bizarre concept. In theory you post brief messages (up to 140 characters at a time) about what you’re doing and these are seen by your ‘followers’. Equally you can read what other people who you’re following say they’re doing.

In practice ‘tweets’ are far more varied than some of the media would have you believe.

Through twitter I have secured attendees at my seminars, traffic to my websites and to my blogs. I have also benefitted from having my messages ReTweeted to wider audiences than the people who ‘follow’ me. And following links from other people’s tweets has led to useful material for my blogs. I’ve also started to build online relationships and have experienced strangers acting as my advocate.

Each time I add new posts to my Ambitious Accountants blog, my TaxBuzz blog or my Accountant jokes blogs an automatic Tweet goes out with a link back to the new blog post. And it’s not only my ‘followers’ who get to see them. Many people search twitter for real time commentary and then tell others.

So, for me twitter is shaping up as a fun business tool. But, do I think many UK accountants will become active on twitter? No. It’s too time consuming as compared with other ways in which they can achieve their business objectives. In this connection I refer back to a blog post I wrote last December in which I explained why ‘Twitter is not for accountants’. My views are unchanged despite knowing a handful of accountants who are now active on twitter – some are even enthusiastic about it. Maybe more will try it out, but I doubt many will stay the course (for business).

Twitter is the latest phenomenon in the area of ‘online business networking’. Business or social? It depends how you choose to use twitter, what you tweet about and who you follow. If you follow all the internet marketing enthusiasts, the celebrity twitterers and the novices who don’t really ‘get it’ you’ll certainly consider twitter a waste of time.

You may know some of your ‘followers’ personally. Others will find you through friends, through real time searches re accountancy and tax subjects or subjects o mutual interest. There are loads of would be twitter spammers – but if you don’t follow them they can’t spam you! And you choose who you follow. If you don’t like the way that someone tweets, ‘unfollow’ them.

I doubt many of my followers read all of my tweets. I certainly don’t have time to read all those of all the people I follow. Many of them in fact only tweet occasionally. As well as friends and business associates I follow other commentators, some journalists, some firms, some publications and some organisations. Many are still experimenting with their twitter strategy – as am I.

—–

If you decide to join in, by all means follow me at www.twitter.com/BookMarkLee. I’ve explained my approach in more details on the twitter page of this blog.

Through the Tax Advice Network I also write the The Tax Buzz blog and twitter feed which you can follow at www.twitter.com/TheTaxBuzz

And if you have a contrary view, whether you are an accountant or not, please add your comments to this post.