Twitter is the next big thing. I’ve heard that all through last year and even saw a few blogs about it being dead before it ever got started. Previously, with the arrival of Facebook, users got accustomed to sharing information such as updates, photos and all sorts with their friends but are they ready for Twitter and more importantly do they know what to do with it? If you’re new to Twitter and the world of ‘Tweets’, it’s basically a site where you update followers with the answer to one simple question which is “what are you doing?”.
I signed up to Twitter at the tail end of last year. My first reaction was one of confusion. Why should I tell everyone what I’m doing? Does anyone need to know or care? What do I post? That I’ve just made a cup of tea or that I’m writing a blog post at the moment? I came away with the feeling that I could not find a use for it. It looked like the “what are you doing?” section of Facebook without anything else. A few months later I tried it again mainly due to the attention it’s receiving and the feeling that I was missing something.
As an SEO, I get it. With Twitter you can post a link about the main point you are trying to make in a longer blog post. The character limits in place mean that the writer is forced to get to the point of what they want to say so the follower gets spoon fed small amounts of information. You can also, at a glance, see what everyone’s up to and depending on the Twitter user be pointed to some interesting info. That depends on the user though. There’s a good chance you’ll be updated on the state of the washing up or other such menial subjects. But it’s up to you to follow who you think is going to deliver the Tweeting goods.
As everyone’s already on Facebook with the ability to send updates to their friends, what makes Twitter unique? For one thing you can follow whoever you like without being friends like on other networks . Its a free for all public address system. Thats where the strength in Twitter lies. Technologically it has limits. You can’t share photos, make photo albums, add profile songs or send out bulletins. It’s this restriction that stops users pottering about and instead lets them get down to the meat and potatoes of what they want to say. If they have nothing of interest to say then their followers go elsewhere. So for networking, business and research it’s great because you can keep informed straight from the horses’ mouths. Its stripping down social media to its bare conversations.
Just last week I read a new users first Tweet which said, “so how does this thing work then?”. I didnt want to disappoint her by saying, “This is it, you post, you read, end of”. Because when you explain it to someone the natural reaction is to say, “oh, like Facebook?”. Yep, but without anything else. It’ll be interesting to watch how this catches on with the general public.