Why I Twitter – And Why It Just Might Make Business Sense

7 Reasons Why Twitter Is Not A Waste Of My Time (and might in fact make decent business sense):

1 – I can post a question to my Tweets and get an answer back in minutes. I’ve received help in formatting PDFs, choosing Mac software, dealing with Apple and even finding something online. I’ve helped answer other’s questions as well – this ain’t a one-way thing. (BTW, it ain’t just 13 years olds who do this. I’ve had CEOs of VC backed Valley firms help me this way.) In comparison, “help “at my last “job” took 4 times longer – and we were all in the same office.

2 – A scan of the Twittosphere can give me the feeling for things in an “instant.” When some “big announcement” happens online, I got to Twitter to see if it is really important. @scoble is right, it is who you follow. 2 minutes and I know if I want to go down a 4-hour rabbit hole. Again, compare that to the traditional “office.”

3 – If not abused I can send a link via Twitter. I’ll probably Tweet this posting. The traffic on Twitter gives me great clickthroughs and an audience to examine what I’ve put out there. We’re talking instant response to my work – not placing it in someone’s inbox and hoping they’ll get to it in a week or so.

4 – I can both participate and lurk from my phone at the time and place of my choosing. When I need to be doing something else, I can ignore Twitter. When I’ve got moments (that don’t steal from my family) I jump in to the conversation. That same cell phone let my old boss catch me whenever he wanted to catch me. He doesn’t have that authority anymore.

5 – If I go away for a few days I have a quick, 140 characters at a time, history of what I missed. Not only can I catch up when I want, I can catch up where I want to and, let’s admit it, only catch up with who I want to.

6 – A Tweet takes a minute or so to write. This Blog post, over an hour. ‘Nuff said.

7 – Gosh darn it, there is the most “real” of conversations happening with my virtual friends in Twitter. Details like someone’s BSG fandom, recent divorce, birth of child, lost of atm card, or coming travels gives me the upper hand in a conversation that doesn’t have to be only “so, are you gonna mail the piece?” A glimpse into the lives of who I’m dealing with via technology may be one of my favorite things about technology.

Convinced? Maybe follow me in Twitter?

Not convinced, tell me why below.

A comment by Tweet would work nicely as well.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan…

    I think you should just learn how to blog faster. : P

    Great post, Paul. It’s always fun seeing good business reasons to use Twitter, and I respect your opinions.

  • http://solyoung.com Sol Young

    Good points. #2 is the key… It’s keeping one’s finger on the pulse of the net.

  • http://www.CathyStucker.com/ Cathy Stucker

    This is exactly what I have been explaining to people about Twitter. It is not just a bunch of kids tweeting about hooking up at the mall. Twitter keeps me in touch with friends and business colleagues, and helps me to make and build new connections.

    I see increased blog traffic when I post a link (I agree posting links should not be abused, though) and I love finding what other people are writing about (such as this post) through their tweets.

    Related to your point #1 – You can do a quick survey to get opinions about things. Not sure which title is better? Which app do people prefer? How do they use RSS, Twitter or some other tech? Just ask. You will instantly get loads of answers.

    Thanks for another great post, Paul.

  • http://www.lisacreechbledsoe.com Lisa Creech Bledsoe

    It DOES take forever to craft a really good blog post (well, for you, only an hour)! Are you finding that you can reach your audience via Twitter as well as you can with your blog? I reach lots of great Social Media people on Twitter, but that feels more like my community and less like my business audience most of the time.

    I added you on Twitter!

    Lisa Creech Bledsoe
    http://twitter.com/glowbird

  • http://forwebsake.blogspot.com Craig Hepburn

    Hi Paul, i think this captures the benefits perfectly. I mainly use twitter to keep me up to speed with events, blogs, research and we have also started using this as a way to monitor in real time customer frustrations something BAA and BA could have done with during the T5 crisis as there were so many people twittering from the airport.

    Cheers

    Craig

  • http://twitter.com/stewartizer Michael Stewart

    Really it takes you 2 mins to write a tweet, you must put a lot of thought in or type really slowly :)

  • http://www.ryankuder.com Ryan Kuder

    I’ll add two more, Paul.

    8. It’s a great networking tool. You’re getting “introductions” to new people all the time based on who your contacts are talking too. And it’s not a cold introduction, you get to see what they are talking about. I’ve met clients and my business partner through twitter this way.

    9. You’re constantly marketing yourself. What you say, the topics that you discuss, and the people who you talk to provide potential customers or clients some insight into how you think about things and how you act. Letting them get to know you is a great way to set up a potential relationship.

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.Entrepreneurialwealth.com Krista Carr

    I really never realized all the great benefits to twitter, I am new to blogging and twitter and Iook forward to utlizing all the great concepts you have shared….

  • http://www.SpectacularPresentations.com Pat & Lorna Shanks

    Hey Paul, great article. Maybe you can compare twitter to a mini podcast, if you are just following certain people. Just a smaller version of information or content you can follow if you want, to get overview of Twittosphere. So your point #2 is bang on. You get to choose who you want to watch or listen to. And if you want to communicate with them directly.

    Only an hour to write a write a good blog post, but how long to think of one to write.

    Thanks,
    – Pat & Lorna
    http://PatAndLorna.com

  • http://richpalmer.com Rich Palmer

    I am doing a presentation on social media to the National Information Officers Association in August. This group of police/fire/community public information officers (of which I am VP) is just now starting to realize some of the benefits/uses of Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms.

    I’ve attempted to let them know that engaging in this environ doesn’t only allow them to connect, it allows them to monitor what is being said and by whom. They can use it as a tool to gauge their community’s involvement and ownership of what they do.

    Nice post, Paul. I’ll certainly keep this one in my file for possible reference during the presentation.

  • http://blog.deanland.com Dean Landsman

    Well put, Paul. Another key point: Twitter is “use as you choose” — there’s no timetable, no requirement (except brevity) and users participate however, whenever, and re whatever they care to. Always on the individual’s basis.

    It is purely user driven, on both the active and passive (push/pull) sides. Add to that the Direct Message facility (which enables a sort of IM outside of the standard IM world) and bing! Another benefit.

    It also furthers the basic web attraction of providing disparate communities with a sense of central touch points. With Twitter one can follow various disparate communities . . . as many as one may so choose. And choice is a big issue in this user’s mind. :-)

  • http://www.kamikazekarate.com Theresa Ortega

    I JUST signed up to follow you today, and got your note that the Podcast Secrets stuff was online. THIS ROCKS!

  • http://www.disruptiveconversations.com/ Dan York

    Paul,

    Nice post! (And I found it when you tweeted it.) I wrote up some similar thoughts in December here in a longer form:

    http://www.disruptiveconversations.com/2007/12/the-10-ways-i-l.html

    I probably use Twitter the most these days for querying the network and also as a “virtual water cooler” (that I talked about in my post).

    Another way since then that I’ve found I use Twitter is as a source of “presence”. If I’m trying to reach someone and not seeing any response, I’ll very often check their Twitter stream to see if they have said what they are doing. In some cases now (with very frequent Twitterers), I’ll check *before* attempting to contact them so that I can know how best to contact them (work phone, cell phone, IM, email or even just Twitter). Chris Brogan wrote about this last week and after reading his piece I realized I use Twitter in this way all the time:

    http://www.chrisbrogan.com/twitter-as-presence/

    Thanks for posting your reasons,
    Dan
    http://twitter.com/danyork

  • http://HomeHealthCareBooks.com Margaret Hampton

    Great post, Paul. I was just trying to explain this to a friend – and you’ve saved me loads of time. I’ll just send this link!

    Each item you mentioned is important to me. In a small town after many years in big cities, it’s easy to feel isolated – but not so with Twitter! I can catch up quickly on myriad matters of both business importance and personal interest, get helpful suggestions and links for puzzling questions, and “reach out and touch someone” while on the proverbial run, without losing a stride in my productivity race.

    This is the best way I know to stay on top of late-breaking news in areas important to me, from people I trust. It’s like having an entire, advanced staff scouring the landscape to call my attention to things I need to know. And to areas where I might help others…

    Many thanks for the post and for your friendship. You ROCK!

    Margaret

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  • http://www.ShoppingCartQueen.com Christina Hills

    my favorite thing about twitter is that I can do it from my phone, and all posts are SHORT!

    I love it, no writers block! Plus, it’s a fun way to keep in touch with others.
    The best social media tool around!

    -Christina
    “The Shopping Cart Queen”

  • http://www.bestitfriend.com Jack

    I am using Twitter to announce about my blog posts
    and hot computing tips and I also get many tips that way.
    Its great !

    Jack – Your Best IT Friend
    Free Computing tips
    for Home Business Owners
    http://www.bestitfriend.com

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  • http://Twitter.com/NextInstinct NextInstinct

    I agree with your points Paul, well said.
    I will add this; just one important crucial tweet from someone I follow can affect what I do all week.
    And I’d like to think that some tidbits I tweet matter a lot to some folks.

    Actually, I’ve already told contacts, [and have been told] , “glad I saw that tweet it changed everything”.

    But it goes beyond that. When I was beta testing Twittr (not a typo), in 2006
    I could see something happening; I was speaking differently.
    Almost melding worthwhile facts with the speed needed to make it easy on my followers.
    I was learning to communicate ‘Web 2.0 Style’. Twitter exemplifies that.

    Thanks for the well distilled post!
    ~Ed

  • http://shegeeks.net Corvida

    You pointed out some of the highlights that make Twitter so valuable. Great post!

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