Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Twitter???

A few folks have been inquiring about my more recent focused energy on Twitter and the whole world of Twits, Tweets, Followers, Friends, Re-Tweets, Tweepularity, and so on (the list of terms is really endless and totally up to the imagination of the users in this burgeoning community).

Disclaimer time...I am not an expert. I am still learning but remarkably more advanced than some of my compatriots out there in the world. So me being "little miss helpful", I thought I'd help out those of you who are still wondering about whether you should venture into Twitterdom (Twitterland, The Twitty, Twitterworld...I told you it could be endless).

For most people who have some experience in the world of social networking, the first inclination is to compare Twitter to Facebook. I started off making this comparison as well and I usually explained it by saying that in Facebook I usually update my status once or twice a day, but with Twitter, I update what I'm thinking or feeling ALL day; what I was eating, where I was headed (into the kitchen, upstairs for bed, taking a shower, etc), how I was feeling, my political views (hahahahaha), or anything else that came to mind.

This explanation was usually met with blank stares or if in writing; no response at all.

Then I decided to not look at HOW I was using Twitter, but WHY. In my role as The Katalist, making connections is my number 1 objective. In most social networking environments, one can limit their network to "friends" or "friends of friends" (with some exceptions) to the nth degree, but eventually you can max out due to personal or even practical reasons. It makes obvious sense then, that if you're using these social networks to keep in touch with family and friends, you'd be pretty much content to stay exclusively loyal to the Myspaces and Facebooks of this environment.

But what if you want your voice to be heard over a wider network? What if you have ideas, thoughts or content you'd like to share with a multitude of people around the world? HOW (ok this is where HOW makes sense) would you make this happen? You don't have to be a great thinker, writer, dreamer or philosopher to have this desire. Deep down even introverts may have a question for the masses.

Or, what if you're a harmless voyeur of people or information? What is your favorite celebrity thinking about today? What are the latest trend topics of the moment? What is the cast of my favorite Broadway musical HAIR doing today? These are the questions that can be answered by using Twitter.

For example...
I have a blog (duh), which means I have an obvious inclination to be heard. I'd like for people to read my blog. I could wait for my friends to forward it to their friends and so on and so on (yes, yes, just like the Suave(??) shampoo commercial), but that could take forever because 1. I'm tired of guilting them into reading it and 2. After they read it, I don't think they know to automatically forward the link to others. So what's a girl (eh eh careful now, I'm still young enough...) like me to do, to get my word heard?? This is where Twitter comes in. Unlike Facebook, which limits the range of my message reach to those who I know (I am pleased to say that I know about 97% of my 500+ FB friends personally) with the hopes that they will share my thoughts with others, Twitter exposes me to a much wider network of like minded people.

You don't have to be a blogger however to have Twittappeal (see??? endless). One day, you may have a cause, opinion, or even a simple question. You can call up each and every personal friend you have, post it to your Facebook profile OR you could Tweet it to the masses; your choice, your options. One is not fundamentally better than the other.

To date, I have almost 2,300 followers and it's growing every day. These are people who have said "I want to know what this chick has to say." To date, I almost found out by accident who won the match between Safin and this new kid Ouanna at the French Open (I am dangerously behind in my DVR recordings). To date, I have interacted with new friends across the seas who have commented on my recent battle with a crazy restaurant owner. And last but not least, I have used my "connections" to expose "Tweeple" to one another in an easier environment to do so than Facebook.

Now don't get me wrong. I have not turned my back on Facebook. I still love it and use it to check out new events, give birthday shout-outs and touch base with my peeps. But now with Twitter added to the mix, I have the world at my fingertips...quite literally. It's exciting and scary at the same time. I decided against writing a mini-tutorial here, but one piece of advice I will give anyone reading this, is that if you tweet about something, make sure it's something you wouldn't think to take back. I no longer know everyone who's following me (unlike 97%of my Facebook peeps) so I try to keep my posts as safe or conservative as I can. Maybe the next generation of Twitter should be Anonytwit (you saw it here first people!!).

Still lost? Still undecided?? I really like the Twitter Tutorial (Twitorial?) found below:

Have fun yall and if you decide not to go with biggie! It's ok, there will be some new social network application thingy to baffle us all again in a few months anyway. Stay Tuned!

Ciao, Ciao, Ciao
The Katalist