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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are You on Twitter?

When a family friend asks if I am on twitter, I don’t give it much thought. However, when the publisher of a website that I periodically contribute articles to blogs about it and provides a “follow me on twitter” link…who am I to resist?

According to Wikipedia, “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).” Your page at any given time will only display those that you are following, only when they post a tweet.

After signing up for an account, I immediately select a handful of people to follow from the “recommended list,” and post my first tweet. Over a period of time, I quickly learn that Twitter is like a huge party. The more people you follow, the merrier. On the contrary, if you don’t follow enough folks, or don’t follow the type of people that typically appeal to you for whatever reason, your profile page will not only look like (the lights are on but no one’s home), but your experience is bound to be uneventful and lonely. Although the initial concept is based on answering one simple question, “What are you doing?” However, the community continues to evolve into an almost “anything goes” ever changing platform that serves different needs for different folks.

I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the twitter community. But I do know enough from my experience to say that it is almost like a 24/7 flea market (full of vendors, shoppers, and browsers). Most people have a niche. Some are link tweeters (meaning they only post links to current stories or other online publications of interest). Others are known for tweeting off color humor and jokes. Some marketing experts and website publishers use twitter as a way to direct traffic to their online sites or network. Stay-at-home moms often use it as a forum to clear their heads of those infamous ‘mind cobwebs’ or share tidbits of their mundane or exciting day-to-day lives. Motivational speakers, social media gurus, and even retirees have their own approach. A great number tend regurgitate same old worn-out quotes. I have seen movie directors and celebrities such as Rob Luketic and Ashton Kutcher-respectively-update their followers with ‘behind the scene’ tweets from the set of their upcoming movie, “Five Killers.” Occasionally, photos and/or links to live video streams are included in their tweets.

As for me, I tend to follow people who inspire me; have an original sense of humor or those that habitually contribute something of value. And as I continue to learn, grow, and sharpen my tweeting skills, I also see an art form with a future earning potential. Now, if only I could figure out how to cash in, before others beat me to the punch.

P.S. Be sure to read my 25 Favorite tweets from Twitter.

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