digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Why Twitter is Useful

May 05, 2009 _ 12:18 / Digital Nation Team / comments (0)

I asked for positive uses for Twitter, and I have received. Here are some reader responses:

  • I am so tired of journalists trying to analyze Twitter without really experiencing it first. It is NOT just a place for promoting blog posts - you need to immerse yourself in it well beyond that to "get" its value.

    I've been an active user for over a year and it is woven into the fabric of my daily life. I feel like it's a read-out of what's happening in the minds and moments of a group of interesting people who are trying, like me, to have a good day, and a good life.

    It's a tool for personal documentary, and it's a way to get outside yourself and be reminded of a broader community with common interests and feelings. It's also a shortcut to ideas and information - it helps me uncover art projects, articles, bars, travel plans and more.

  • Twitter is the best Professional Development I've ever had as a classroom teacher. And I've even started giving tests via Twitter. Twitter, like most of the best things, is what you make of it.

  • I believe it was William Gibson who wrote that "The street finds its own uses for technology." Your examples of negativity above showed me positive uses for Twitter. I'm using it to network, and to write fiction, and to get the news, and to follow a few celebrities. The brevity is what makes it work for me.

  • I've been able to get real time updates from friends about arising computer security threats. I've been able to reestablish contact with old friends and mentors. When a recent Earthquake hit in Mexico, I knew it for 10 minutes or so before it was reported. Likewise, when a tornado touched down in my area, I knew where it was before the tv or public service announced it. I was shopping in Wal-Mart, when someone ELSE got a twitter, and told everyone.

  • I googled my new ex-boyfriend looking to see his new updated website. Instead his new twitter feed came up that offered an easy-to-read, play-by-play format of all his latest skintastic adventures. So I guess I wish people would use the privacy settings if they're putting up anything personal.

  • I've found twitter to be incredibly useful both personally and professionally. For example:

    1. After reading one of my tweets about an art sale, a follower of mine invited me to visit the large company he works for to participate in a related research/art project. This wouldn't have happened without twitter.

    2. My wife and I attended a secret show for a worldwide-known musician announced over twitter. We got to see someone who normally plays largeish venues for free with only 30-50 other fans and got to sit down with her over "lunch".

    3. When attending large conventions, we have coordinated locations, meetups, and plans between ourselves and our large groups of friends using twitter.

    4. I regularly meet, network, and debate with other professionals and executives in my industry via twitter whom I would not have met unless I'd seen another friend talking to them on twitter.

    5. When people like what I have to say and retweet my comments, I usually end up meeting new, interesting people who I wouldn't have otherwise. For example, after sending a tweet to a famous author/writer, he retweeted my message to his (at the time) 30,000+ follower base - many of whom began following me as a result.

    6. Finally, our local news channel uses twitter extensively and one of my conversations with the local anchor has ended up partially quoted on the evening news. I could go on, but these are fairly representative of how I use Twitter and how it's benefited me so far.

  • Here's how I've found Twitter invaluable: it puts me in direct contact, and dialog, with journalists. I can learn of news well before it breaks, follow journalists' research, and ask questions. I'm a link aggregator, and follow several others who do the same in fields I'm interested in. While there are other tools for aggregating and sharing links, none has the simplicity and immediacy of Twitter. Twitter exposes me to news, commentary and personalities I would never find on my own. Twitter has also brought me into professional and hobby communities, for networking, friendship and learning.

Keep them coming, and I will continue to post them.




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posted February 2, 2010

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