Until you start tweeting it’s hard to get to grips with what it’s all about. And it’s even harder to decide if it’s something you would want to do.
The media make twitter seem almost ubiquitous and yet you struggle to see why you would want to join in. It all seems so pointless. It isn’t and I’ve addressed this fallacy before.
You may also have seen marketing focused explanations of the (alleged) business benefits of twitter. I will address some of these ideas in subsequent blog posts – without the hype! First though I want to highlight the NON-business reasons you might want to be on twitter. I’ve identified ten of them (so far!) And I would add that many people who use and enjoy twitter do so for one or more of these NON-Business reasons.
Twitter can be a lot of FUN; you can share views and pick up on interesting breaking news and trivia about your favourite sports, hobbies, teams and other non-work interests. You can also use it to pick up on work/business related real-time news, views and trivia too.
Many people tweet stories that interest, annoy or amuse them. You simply choose to ‘follow’ people who share your interests or who seem to tweet interesting stuff. This lets you fill in the gaps and gain a broader perspective than simply watching broadcast news, reading one daily paper, chatting with friends, listening to the radio/podcasts or reading your favourite website/mags.
Many people use twitter as a real-time search engine for hobby, personal, shopping or business related topics and for tv, film, holiday, travel and local issues. You can follow the tweets posted by local/national/international celebrities (from sports, film, tv, politics, science, business and every other field). You can gain insights and you can contribute to the discussion about such issues. This is often best done for searching for all tweets on a specific subject or that include a specific hashtag (#).
NB: Twitter takes some getting used to and it can also become obsessive. For more of my ‘introduction to twitter‘ type posts follow this link. Remember too that you only see the tweets of people you follow. You choose who they are. And you can stop following someone whenever you like. So you aren’t forced to read anyone’s tweets if they bore you.
The list of ten NON-business reasons to be on twitter
- To find out what’s going on
- …. in the National news (reports through twitter tend to be faster than more traditional media)
- ….in your business sector
- ….as regards a specific topic that interests you – sports, hobby, politics, films, tv shows, radio, podcasts, IT, holiday destination, a specific celebrity, sports person, politician, journalist
- …at a holiday destination or somewhere you’re loved ones are based
- To elicit or simply listen to opinions on any of the above or products, brands, films etc. These may be shared by friends you know well, people you have met occasionally, journalists, celebrities etc or simply by virtual contacts.
- To find stuff out – by asking and getting answers to questions about your daily life (eg: computer issues), your plans or your friends.
- To be entertained – whether by famous people and their tweets or by your friends or new contacts who tweet amusing stuff either randomly or on topics in which you are interested.
- To be amazed – Sometimes it’s more than mere entertainment. Many people post tweets containing links that could make you go ‘wow’! You may be touched, inspired or motivated by the tweet or the item in the link.
- To make new friends – either virtually around the world or closer to home, as you choose.
- To connect up with old friends and contacts – if you find that they are active on twitter
- To attract interest to your blog or activities (remember we’re talking about NON-business blogs and activities on this post)
- To entertain or amaze your followers – SOME of whom will see SOME of your tweets
- To help other people – locally or more generally – by sharing tips, warnings and problems that you have encountered/resolved and which may benefit them and/or prevent them encountering the same issue. To reciprocate for all that you have gained.
NB: If you find this list helpful you might choose to tweet a link to it so as to help others who may also find it helpful ;-) (Some of the best tweets are those with links to blog posts AND a note of WHY the tweeter recommends the item). What are your NON-business reasons for being on twitter? Please share your stories and thoughts as comments on this blog post.