Describing the benefits of Twitter can be difficult. Lately, however, I’ve been stumbling upon fantastic explanations which live up to Twitter’s inconspicuous usefulness. If you’re still scratching your head on figuring out how twittering what you’re doing can be useful to anybody, I recommend the following 2 links:
1) Someone made a fantastic visual aid and uploaded it to YouTube. I found this one out through Twitter.
2) Another helpful explanation was written by Bill Thompson of the BBC.
I can totally relate to Bill Thompson’s experiences. And here’s why:
I first heard of Twitter at PodCamp Toronto 2007 before it took off at SXSW shortly after. I loved the concept however, like most people, I spent the better part of the year trying to figure out a practical use for it.
Birds of a feather
None of my offline friends and relatives care about social media (kids in developing nations with XO laptops are more wired). So I started off using Twitter to follow strangers and people I’ve met at PodCamp Toronto and then PAB in June 2007.
It was after PAB when I found Twitter being a great tool to for keeping updated on what my new friends were doing.
Be it projects they are working on, weirdness they encountered, a site they found interesting, even asking for help on a technical issue.
Status messages you can reply to.
Twitter doesn’t replace in-person conversations or even e-mail. It’s just tiny bits of info that wouldn’t necessarily need e-mails. Messages on Twitter, or ‘tweets’, are more like quick phone calls. Status messages you can reply to. Or perhaps it’s the closest thing to telepathic thoughts.
I was recently able to keep track of a friend’s experience at the InDesign conference in Miami and configuration of her new MacBook Pro. As Bill Thompson describes, it was like being there.
Not much work invovled
The sweet part of the deal is all this track keeping is done at a glance. It isn’t laborious or intrusive like e-mail or Facebook.
Plus, you have the option of sending and receiving tweets via your mobile phone.
At PodCamp Toronto 2008, Twitter was the most used tool for keeping updated on post-conference meet ups. On my way to dinner, I received the following tweets on my phone within minutes of each other:
“Baton Rouge is full. Meeting at Irish Pub”
“Irish pub is crazy. We’re at Mr. Greenjeans”
“Upstairs at Mr. Greenjeans”
Twitter is like an after-party which never ends
And after PodCamp Toronto 2008, I am still having conversations with fellow attendees on Twitter. It’s as if the unconference never ended!
Of course, like all social media tools, Twitter isn’t for everyone. For me, it works because the people who I interact with are regular users.