Blogging / Et Al / Social Media / Technical Writing

Guest Post: How Twitter Made Me a Better Social Networker

Today’s post is by Linden, one of my best friends. She and I share the same love for the Internet, Google, and Web 2.0, so when she jumped on the Twitter train, I asked her to convince me to make the jump, too. Here’s what she had to say:

What are you doing right now?Almost every single blog post I’ve read about Twitter highlights the fact that it is made for “micro-blogging” by allowing users to use only 140 characters in which to write their answer to the question “What are you doing now?”

When Twitter was new, many people asked right back, “Why should I care about this, another new fad site? The frenzy will die out in a few months.” It was even called “the Seinfeld of the internet … a website about nothing.” Some have touted it as a marketing tool: Sign up, get people to “follow” you, they will see your “tweets,” and boom! Free advertising for your site or product. And with the ability to send (by texting to 40404) and receive tweets via SMS, it’s highly mobile: A connection to the Internet for those of us too cheap to pay for Internet on our non-iPhone, non-Blackberry, plain old cell phones.

But I don’t use Twitter in any of those ways. Well, I do use it for a little blog marketing, but mostly I use it for its seamless integration with Facebook, my preferred social networking site.

Free Blog Advertisement

I’ve got a blog. And I want readers. I can’t really explain why because I am not Penelope Trunk, who is an expert in her field and probably makes tons of money with her posts, and I’m not Half-Fast, who writes a funny blog dedicated to the topic of running and has even posted on the main Complete Running Network site. My blog is about my life in Germany, with some running, travel, and cool technology posts in the mix.

But I want readers because I like writing posts more when I know people are reading them. So every time I publish a new blog post, I tweet it. This sends it automatically to any followers I have, publishes it in the Twitter public timeline, and sends it off to my Facebook status.

Twitter–Facebook Integration

Once you’ve added the Twitter application and given it permission to update your Facebook status, you can update without logging into the Facebook website.

I love this. I have added twitter@twitter.com to my Gmail chat contacts, so right from inside Gmail I can simultaneously advertise my newest blog post on Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and I can update my Facebook status much more often than I ever did before. (FYI: I am currently using Digsby for all my IMing needs, so look forward to a corresponding Cool Technology post soon!)

“So what?” you ask. I personally like the Facebook status idea: a mini-snapshot of what my friends are thinking and doing. A great way to ask questions, interact with other people’s statuses, and have fun conversations between a group of friends. Hmmm. Sounds a lot like Twitter.

Twitter posts = highly mobile Facebook status updates

I have come to this conclusion about Twitter, even though I have not been using to to keep up with my friends (the only person I’m following that I know in person, Sarah, just joined Twitter about a week before I wrote this post): Twitter is the Facebook status, without the rest of Facebook. It is a great way to ask and answer questions posed by other Twits, interact with other tweets, and have a great conversation between a group of friends. Except that I don’t have a group of friends on the site. Yet. So head on over to Twitter.com, sign up, and add me at http://twitter.com/xgravity23!

(If you arrived at this post hoping for an explanation of Twitter, hopefully you understand it a little better now. If not, check out Common Craft‘s video “Twitter in Plain English,” which explains Twitter better than I ever could.)

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11 thoughts on “Guest Post: How Twitter Made Me a Better Social Networker

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