Friday, March 2, 2012

Why You Should Use Twitter

English: Tweeting bird, derived from the initi...Image via Wikipedia


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   Most of us are now faced with the quandary of which social media platform is the best one to be on and as a consequence we join more than one, and in some cases many.  Twitter is running a close race with Facebook and for many is the social networking platform of choice.  I have finally given in and caught the Twitter bug.

       I'll be honest about this--I don't entirely get it.  When I'm on the Twitter page I see a lot of random messages that seem to have little interconnection.   Sometimes there is interaction like brief instant message exchanges, but mostly it seems to be users saying random things to no specified person or promotional bits touting some book, product, or link.

       There were times when I was scrolling through the tweets that I would find a potentially interesting link that I would visit.  I did find a few items that caught my attention and even found a couple of blogs that I ended up following.  But quite frankly I mostly just skimmed through the tweet lists and most of it just whizzed past my eyes in a blur.  A person could just sit all day following tweet links.  And it looks like some people are tweeting links all day--sometimes over and over.

        So I'm probably having some of the same thoughts that some of you are having.  And my approach to my initial tweeting experience is based on what I saw others doing.  What is the primary purpose of tweeting? Is there a right or a wrong way to approach the Twitter message?

         Rosalind Adam, one of my blog friends, greeted my arrival on Twitter and then added  "Twitter's an excellent way of getting feedback and chat but it's not for just selling."  


         She was a bit miffed about the practice of some Tweeters of only promoting product and suggested that she might stop following some of those who were doing only this.  I can understand some of her frustration as their were times when I felt like I was looking at an online version of newspaper classified ads with some that were duplicated periodically.  I for one ignored these for the most part.  I'm wondering if sales result from these promo tweets?   Or is it like a repetitive message that gradually embeds its way into ones psyche for later retrieval?


        There were a few instances of banter that I saw and I even engaged in a few brief exchanges.   However with so much going on it feels like being in a crowd or at a party where everyone is talking at once and any real meaningful conversation gets lost in the hubbub.  Do you ever have an exchange of substance?  Or do you merely joust in inanities and minor pleasantries?  


         Then I saw a lot of quotes and absurd statements.  That's mostly what I ended up doing as I engaged in experimentation.  I wanted to see if I could generate interest in my Thursday post on A Faraway View by interjecting cryptic mentions of "Federal Duck".   In a sense I was trying to test the medium as a means of messaging a concept that might stimulate curiosity and draw readers to the post later.  I did get some new readers so I guess my attempt worked in a minor way.   Then again, maybe "Federal Duck" sounded so inane that most people just ignored it as stupid.  Well, I thought it was funny and I think I came up with a few clever lines, so if nothing else I entertained myself.


        So is that a big part of not only Twitter, but much social media--especially social media in the short form such as Twitter?  Are we mostly just tossing our words out there hoping that someone will latch on to something?  Does most of our twitter chatter fall on deaf eyes unless we are Angelina Jolie's leg or Lady GaGa or some such entity?   And even then, are they idle words that fill a temporary space in time with little lasting value?


         Is Twitter most effective as marketing, communication, or fulfillment of self?   I'm curious to hear from those who have more experience with this or who have given the Twitter concept more thought?  I often walk through life in bewilderment and like to see if the explanations that others give me can clarify the way I see things.    So what can you tell me?   How can I best spend my Twitter time?  Or should I run away and not look back?


        Oh and by the way, don't forget to click my Twitter button in the sidebar--there are two of them.  I want more followers.  It will increase the odds of somebody hearing this Bird tweet.




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46 comments:

  1. Lee, I feel rather much the same as you described here. I have no idea what Twitter is for and what I should do on it!

    Duncan In Kuantan

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  2. Hi Lee. I've only been on Twitter (officially, under my own name) for a few weeks. But I've discovered a whole slew of interesting publishers, agents and writers who I wouldn't necessarily otherwise have heard of.

    Twitter is generally best used for reaction and interaction. Those guys endlessly touting their book -- and seemingly doing little else -- in a sense are not worth following, because there's no exchange going on there.

    What Twitter is really good for is fast information transfer. And it's a good way to get access to people you wouldn't otherwise have access to.

    I'm following you now, btw.

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  3. Lee, you totally captured my feeling on Twitter. Usually, I don't go there accept to announce what I posted on my blog. It's all time consuming when you've got another job to tend to besides writing.

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  4. I'm afraid I can't help you Lee...I've never chirped on Twitter or faced up to Facebook. I thought I was cutting edge when I signed up to Blogger. Now I'm beginning to wonder if it is safe to put your opinions anywhere that can be tracked.

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  5. I agree so much with this Lee but to be honest with you you seem to have grasped all the basics at least when it comes to Twitter very well, replying, retweeting and following with the greatest of ease so I wouldn't worry too much. Hashtags and trending are a little confusing but I don't know, I for one am glad you're on Twitter and hope you continue to be active on there for a considerable period of time.

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  6. I think I've been on there about two years now. I'll post a link to my blog and Tweet links to other interesting stuff, but I've never done the "Buy my book!" thing. Don't think those are effective at all. I do sometimes pull up TweetDeck and watch for Tweets from my blogger buddies and get involved in a conversation. And some people don't use email much - they send a direct message instead - so I have to watch for those.

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  7. I find Twitter a great way to chat with those of like minds. Using the hashtags is a great idea. Granted, it took me awhile to figure it all out. Some stuff has yet to be understood. lol

    I agree with your friend about self promotion. Twitter is a great place for that, but it shouldn't be used solely for that.

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  8. i think Twitter is fun and shouldn't be taken so seriously. You can follow whoever you want and if someone is annoying you you can easily unfollow.

    I tweet my blog post when I put it up, and I also tweet quotes and articles I find interesting or have helped me in some way. I like promoting my blog buddy's books on Twitter, too.

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  9. I'm on twitter, but admit I never know what to tweet. I don't want to be one of those guys tweeting about his shoelaces.

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  10. Very happy since I discovered the "block" button on Twitter.

    I don't have a smartphone, for now, so I do all my Tweeting via 'puter. A little challenging. However, I have met some awesome people and found some cool blogs through Twitter.

    I see a blog as a lake - a large body of words, someplace fairly stable you can go back to and swim anytime you want. FaceBook fan page - more like a river, quotes and shares are up for a while, then they pass by.

    Twitter is shooting the rapids. The more people you follow, who follow you, the faster it moves - but it can be a lot of fun, if a bit overwhelming.

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  11. Hi Arlee!

    I have to admit when I revived my Twitter account recently (it fell in slumber for 2 year, a year after I joined!) it was because the competition I am currently in, will factor tweets about and for our blog entries, and my chances of winning will increase.


    The Twitter language, for me is like a foreign language I had to learn. lol Since I am polylingual :D it worked! Kidding aside, I simply did what my 4 y.o. would do and imitated what others were doing . I feel lucky that I was following established bloggers, and they had the same goals as I did, so I used some of their tweets as patterns.

    Some terms I simply googled like, "What does #FF means on Twitter?". :D

    I am aware most people are there for self-promotion, but I still try to reach out, and have been rewarded with what I feel were sincere reciprocation of friendship, or what resembles that on such a social media setting.

    I love reading this post because it shows so clearly your charm, talent in words and sincerity in everything you do, Arlee. :) I agree with others, from what I've seen in Twitter you are doing great, like you simply slip into everything effortlessly.

    Joanna

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  12. You seem to have grasped it all. I had Twitter explained to me as being like a party line where you can jump on and listen to everyone. I have developed a few online relationships through it and have found it good to promote my online friends stuff - like Elle Strauss's book Clockwise which I just read. My sons just got on Twitter and I enjoy watching what they have to say. I think it's a fun hobby. While I don't have a smart phone either, I have discovered I can text updates from my regular phone and I get tweet texts from the people I choose to. We'll figure it all out together!

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  13. I love twitter!

    Been on just over a year and the writer community is just AWESOME. :D

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  14. Sounds to me that you have a pretty clear understanding of Twitter already! I do all those things-- connect with others, promote my stuff and other links I like, and entertain myself endlessly with my cleverness. I'm a huge fan of Twitter although I get annoyed by those who just tweet the same links over and over.

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  15. I have been thinking about taking the twitter leap but it's one that I have been hesitant about.

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  16. I'm on Twitter, but don't really use it. It's quite bewildering to me. My understanding is that, to keep it organized and useful, you need an add-on like Tweetdeck. I tried adding it on, but somehow I don't think it worked (I'm so computer illiterate).

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  17. I have an account. Haven't used it yet.

    Teresa

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  18. The concept of Twitter seemed odd to me at first until I got the hang of it. I HATE Facebook. Wait. Hate is such a negative word. Let me rephrase...I do not particularly care for Facebook, so Twitter is about the only other social site that I am willing to use and I actually like it. However, you are not alone in thinking that it's just all full of meaningless ramblings with no real connections.

    Even Whoopi Goldberg didn't think that Twitter was useful. When she was on The Tonight Show and Jay Leno asked her if she is on there, she said "Why do I need to know that you're on the toilet?!!" and I thought that was so funny, yet, so true.

    After using the site for a while, I've realized that Twitter is what you make it. It is easy to have meaningful conversations with other Twitter users. Just like a party, it all starts with engagement.

    In fact, I met a few blogging buddies on Twitter last year, during the 2011 A to Z challenge, including Damyanti and also a woman named Beverly who used to host the Blue Velvet Vincent blog. Beverly joined the A to Z challenge, after corresponding with me on Twitter and noticing that other people were participating in the challenge.

    Also, I use Twitter to discuss TV shows that I am watching, with other fans. For example, if I'm watching "CSI: Miami," or "Desperate Housewives" then it's easy to go on Twitter and discuss the investigation, thoughts on the plot, reactions to dialogue or twists in the story and anything else that comes to mind.

    I've also had conversations about computer software and film, with fellow filmmakers and an award-winning film editor. One conversation in particular turned me onto some Netflix recommendations, as this video editor lady could not believe that I still haven't watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho".


    The Madlab Post

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  19. I'm not a big fan, but I know it's important to be there. I have a friend who uses it really successfully--she has found out a number of calls for submission there and ended up with published novellas in response. I think the trick is knowing which hashtags are likely to have fruitful conversations and going THERE instead of paying attention to the whole thing. I don't have the patience for the randomness of it otherwise.

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  20. Twitter takes a hell of a long time to master. Unless you're on there continuously you end up missing so much.

    It's something I definitely need to work on.

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  21. Hi Arlee,
    Thank you for commenting on my etsy-treasury-post and welcoming me to the A to Z April challenge.

    Tina is an aquaintance of mine through Jenny Matlock's memes. (We can write secret messages in Swedish to each other.) So I thought I'd take the plunge and give A to Z a try.

    I must admit that I use twitter mostly to announce when I have curated a new Etsy treasury list. But I am not promoting my own products; I am promoting items that I admire or feel that they fit well into a theme or season.

    Thanks for the welcome. It warms the heart!

    Best wishes,
    Anna

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  22. I joined twitter a while ago and was gung ho, but none of my friends/colleagues were on it so I kind of let it fall by the wayside. I may need to start up again. but I confess, I don't get it.

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  23. When I worked in a cheese/gourmet food shop and the food changed daily, customers kept suggesting the chef tweet updates so folks would know they could come in and pick up their favorites. He was too busy cooking to do so, but I could see where it would have helped business. I have a Twitter account...but I've been on it maybe twice. I just don't feel like I have time!

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  24. I have a love/hate relationship with twitter. I hate all the spam-y stuff that often clutters my feed, but I've also met some really great people. As an example, twitter is how I found out about the A to Z challenge. So for now the good is outweighing the bad.

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  25. I've been on Twitter for quite a while - some of the multiple postings result when users have links from other social media sites which automatically show up on Twitter. One prolific Tweeter I know recently had five consecutive tweets with the same content because he has everything cross-linked! I find that irritating so I've muted him for a while ;-p
    I also find some people constantly retweeting stuff - I turn off their reTweets :-)

    Now following you, Lee ! (@Librarymaid)

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  26. When I first started on twitter, I found some great links to articles, editors, agents and other things of interest. Now when I go, I might find one interesting tweet in fifty. Twitter bores me but it is the first when a news story breaks.

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  27. There are some good chats on twitter where you can get some interesting info. I've learned a lot from following some agents too. Sometimes I find it annoying, other time I find it fun - just depends on my mood I think :)

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  28. I still don't "get" twitter, but it works. You post a link to your blog, and BAM, hits. Lots of them.

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  29. Like all other social media, Twitter is what you make of it.

    I use it to chat with my blog friends, pick up links, post links, increase my blog audience---I was much more lost than you are when I began, which was two years ago---I let it lie around, but when I did begin to understand it, it became useful.

    I'd say hang around for a while, and let your considerable blog following find you on twitter.

    You are a people's person (at least you seem so online) and you'll soon be chirping and tweeting with the best of them :)

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  30. I have been on Twitter for eight days now and I'm finding I really enjoy it. Seems easier to scroll through a short tweet list (tweet roll?) and click on what I'm interested in than it is with a long blog roll. And yes, it's easy to block someone and somehow less offensive than a FB block (I could be wrong about that!). I joined when I learned that several folks in my publishers sales conference were "live tweeting" and naturally I wanted to know what was said about my book when it was presented. That was great fun and I felt like I got to participate 'live' by responding to the tweets. Lately I've been following #AWP12 to learn what's going on at the AWP conference in Chicago and that's been lots of fun too. I may be one of those that quickly converts to Twitter as my main social media--especially since a tweet can post instantly to your FB page but the opposite is not true.
    And yes...now I'm a follower of yours too!

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  31. I've had a twitter account for a while, but very rarely tweet. Some still say it's a valuable tool, but I haven't messed with it enough to verify that. When you figure it out, let us know, too, okay?

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  32. Lee-

    I guess I'm not confident enough in my manhood.

    I can't bring myself to do something called "tweeting."

    Larry

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  33. I'm on Twitter but I don't really say much. Occasionally I'll respond directly to someone's tweet but I feel a bit silly saying something to nobody :-)

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  34. I think the main feed is pretty impossible to follow, I just stick to checking the mentions.

    mood

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  35. Looks like we're about all in the same boat. Maybe we should be tweeting each other about our bewilderment.

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  36. There are some writers who re-tweet the same promo posts over and over again... and then there are others who give TMI in terms of personal info... it can become a bit much!

    I use it to tweet my blog posts when I put them up. The Direct Message function can also be quite useful.

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  37. I love reading your thoughts on Twitter. I feel so much of the same way! I sorta love and hate it all at the same time. :)

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  38. Hi Lee .. I'm on it - but don't use it .. when I first was told about - it was suggested that I use Twitter the way Liza implied that her Cheese/gourmet shop should have taken .. ie someone in the shop - should have tweeted about the Chef's ideas for the week, the new products that had come in, the goodies of the day, and then how people felt as they ate the products ... or came back in and gave feedback ... building up excitement - so customers would want to come by and try.

    The same way could be done for blog postings .. if you're organised!

    Certainly for the A - Z build up .. perhaps you could just concentrate on that?

    PS any news re Subscribe to Comments coming back on line?

    Cheers Hilary

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  39. I feel exactly the same. Everyone is telling me to use it and I kind of feel like I should but as soon as I enter the website, I have no idea what is going on!

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  40. Hi Lee, thanks for the visit and comments, Yes Las Vegas was splendid, but that picture back in LA was most errie. My daughter thought it was me when I showed her, I don't know how I can find out about it. I feel letdown with the gift shop there I ordered something there and was promised it to be in the UK by the time I got home, I have been home a week and still no package, I emailed the hotel but was told the shop was nothing to do with them.
    Once again thanks for a lovely day there I appreciated you taking the time to come and meet us.
    Yvonne.

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  41. I think Twitter works best as a B to B network, and Facebook B to C - at least that's my experience. That being said, StumbleUpon has surprisingly been the biggest source (next to Google) for prompting page views on my blogs.

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  42. All I'm going to say is thank you for all of the excellent comments. I'm still in a bit of a funk about the change to the Blogger comment pop-up box.

    Lee

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  43. Hello, Arlee!

    I have signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and are following your blog.. I would love to have you visit my website: http://4ambassadorsofchrist.blogspot.com

    Looking forward to the challenge...I'll be blogging tonight about my plans.

    Thanks for all the work you have done to make this possible!

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  44. There is definitely a learning curve for Twitter, but I've been on it for almost two years now and I love it.

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Lee