I was asked the other day why I keep going back to twitter? And this made me think. Why do I use twitter?
I’ve blogged in the past about what twitter is so I won’t go into the details again.
I like twitter because it is quite easy to use both on the web and through the numerous applications that have been developed for it. I’ve looked at and tried other similar services such as plurk and identi.ca but (at that time at least) didn’t really seem that accessible to me. You need to make a conscious effort to go and find out what was happening, and with plurk in particular, it was not easy keeping up with what was going on. Until yesterday it was even possible to send and receive tweets (that’s what twitter updates are called) by sms. However, that has now changed for us over here in the UK, at least for the time being. (please twitter, let us have our sms back – pretty please?)
I started using twitter after it was mentioned by Steve Lamb in one of his blog posts, having previously heard of it from both Cali Lewis and Leo Laporte. When I signed up I wasn’t really sure what I was joining, or how I’d use it. I knew no other twitter users except those mentioned. Eventually I increased the number of people I followed, and (even more slowly) the number of followers that I have increased.
Back to the point of this post, why do I use twitter? I like twitter because it has a sense of community and friendship. It is really easy to use. The simplest way to to tweet is via the web, but there are also vast range of applications for almost every platform – windows, mac, linux, symbian, WinMobile. It’s also possible to tweet by sms (and if you lucky enough to live in the US or Canada receive updates as well). It can also integrate with other services such as facebook, ping.fm and qype.
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool: a place to put your thoughts and details about what you are doing. It’s also a place to get help . The other day there was a problem with my isp and by watching twitter for related posts, I was able to keep others updated on why they were having problems. This lead to me gaining several new friends. A day or two later, I tweeted that I had a problem with FireFox and within minutes one of my new found friends came back with the solution. I hadn’t even had time to look it up on Google!
It’s also a way of finding out news before it gets on the main news services. As example I’ve heard about several earthquakes (including the Chinese one) and sports results (GB winning gold medals in the Olympics).
It’s a place to make new friends. As well as tweeting with each other, twitterers have a habit of arranging meet-ups (tweet-ups) because their social people (which is why their into social networking I suppose). You then get to actually meet the people you have conversations with and have fun.
And it’s a good leveller. Everyone is equal, whether its Joe Blogs down the road, or one of the big name bloggers such as Robert Scoble or even one of the stars of the podcasting/internet tv world such as Veronica Belmont. They will also engage in conversations with any of their twitter following.
To paraphrase someone else, there are no strangers on twitter, only people you don’t follow.
So if you’re not on twitter why not come and join us? And if you are, then pop over and follow me.