If you aren't an addict yet, you will be. That's what one of my Twitter friends, Ron Graham, said when I asked on my Facebook page what people thought about Twitter. And as northstate friend Erin Friedman indicated, Twitter prompts you to be clever, clear, and concise, which gives you a good intellectual workout.
It's amazing how Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook intertwine. You interact with friends on one network just to bump into them on another. Compare it to going to the grocery store and seeing a friend, then going for a cup of coffee across town just to see the same friend again. An interesting trust and understanding builds as you intersect in different places. And business begins to happen.
I have written about Facebook and LinkedIn, but Twitter has surprisingly stopped me cold in my tracks. Why? On the surface, it seems so basic. When you start analyzing it, it gets more complicated quickly. Trying to put it into words has stumped me but it's time to get it done! Drum roll, please!
Twitter. 140 characters. That is the maximum length of one Tweet. Yes, you can go shorter but you cannot go longer. Those 140 characters were chosen to match the maximum allowed number of characters of 160 on SMS (text) messages on any phone PLUS your "handle" (User Name), which in itself can't be more than 20 characters.
WHAT could you possibly convey in 140 characters that matters over and over? You'd be so surprised at how clever you can get.
My business, Moving Links 4 You, was started because of social media taking off. I took a social online media course in May and it was at that point that I began to realize the potential power of those 140 characters. You have seen the tiny url's, I'm sure. Well, they are highly effective for Twitter. Tweets can open up doors in the most surprising ways. Whether it's just to bounce ideas off of all kinds of people via direct messages or find people with who need your services or you, theirs ...
What helped convince me that Twitter is somewhat magical was when I read Mark Stelzner's Twitter blogpost (he's another northern Californian) regarding how Twitter has helped him. He has earned substantial contracts via 140-character (or less) Tweets. Naturally, his firm is thrilled. They have seen good results, so don't write off this social media network too quickly. Your business MAY and can have a big opportunity via Twitter.
Remember that for every follower you have, there are thousands behind that person and the 6 degrees of separation shrinks. At this stage, I think I am no more than 2 degrees separated from any human being on this planet ... thanks to social media.
Twitter has grown to 100 million users as of mid-summer 2010. Professionals are keen fans of Twitter. 40% of the users are within the U.S. and 60% are outside the U.S. That gives it a huge global presence. When you Tweet, you are effectively in touch with the world.
There are, on average, 750 TPS (tweets per second) and 65 million TPD. (tweets per day). That is, unless something like World Cup Soccer is on. Then watch that volume rise substantially.
Where do you SEE tweeting taking place? I have been asked this question more than once by those who haven't gotten started. Start by signing up for Twitter. Here is what my Twitter page looks like: ReloMary. I can see my Tweets here on my profile page and can see the Tweets of my followers on the homepage on my site. However, to have a better overview, I installed TweetDeck, where I can follow my direct messages and follow others I am interested in, too, all in one screen. It shows up in columns. Oh, and because I love photography, I use TwitPic to upload pictures. These make great links to add to Tweets.
There are new applications all the time. The Twitter Blog is a good place for you to keep up with happenings.
The real power of Twitter lies in its real-time search. It will evolve and morph but it is here to stay in one shape or form, I have no doubt. One of the things that expands its abilities are the Twitter applications people are inventing to propel it forward. Here's a list of 275 Twitter apps.
2010 has shown a lot of changes already on LinkedIN and Facebook. Twitter will be no different. We're really in the infancy of social media. Did you realize Ben & Jerry's, of ice cream fame, has dropped email as of July, 2010, and will use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with its people?
If you are in business, Twitter may be a great tool to learn about. It is at least worth investigating so you understand it's not going away. One of the reasons I like it is adding my blogpost URLs to spread my blog to a broader audience and increase search-engine optimization. Realize that 100 million people wouldn't have jumped on board if there was no value. Consider this article the 140-character read on Twitter, with links, to begin expanding the possibilities for you.
The social media craze has prompted a new line of work for some. There is an entirely new industry for helping folks and businesses understand social media. There are two I would like to introduce you to ...
Sahar Andrade, a Southern Californian I've become friends with via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, is an amazing gal who helps businesses make sense of social media for their companies. I think Sahar is an excellent person for companies to talk to regarding their social media goals to help get on a track that will work for them.
Another, but from the other side of the pond, is my good friend Simon Hamer. He is the Visibility Extremist who has helped me increase my Twitter followers. He is well versed on how to do this and is available to you should you want some help in this department.
Oh, and guess what? I just signed up for SocialOomph while writing this. I was checking various websites and decided I need this to help simplify. I continue to learn, grow and get organized. Follow me and see what my auto response is to you. Plug your ears!
I also invite you to click on the Sundial Film Festival Twitter page to follow Redding, CA's Sundial Film Festival, which happens in March.
This is one very easy way to broadcast messages far and wide. There are those who use it to talk about things that do not matter, but then there are those who talk about brilliant things. Twitter is connecting our own neighborhoods with those across the globe. Again, as Erin Friedman aid, Twitter prompts you to be clever, clear, and concise, which gives you a good intellectual workout.
See you on Twitter!!
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.