Twitter: My New Obsession

May 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

So, I’m finally figuring out what to do with Twitter and why it is so cool. I got into it because I’m writing an article about how people are using technology to create and promote social change movements, and I wanted to see for myself how people were using it.

I started following some of the contacts that I have made through Ma.gnolia, I’ve stumbled upon some friends and random acquaintances, and there are several business, nonprofits, and news agencies who are also Twittering.

The greatest example for me of Twitter’s usefulness, I think is NetSquared. This is an organization that helps nonprofits use technology, and they are hosting a conference in San Jose now. I have been able to keep up with what’s happening there with their tweets. They also have a FaceBook page and a website with conference updates, but the tweets are like a play-by-play, informing its followers of the most recent updates to the website of the flickr page.

People talk to each other, too, asking for or offering help and advice, sharing links and information, just putting themselves out there to see what comes back. Or sometimes just to share a little pearl of wisdom or a moment of inspiration, or a good joke.

So, Twitter has been around for a while now, and I’m not the first to review this tool. I have nothing to say here that is revolutionary to anyone who is already using it, but for me it is a revelation! I have a new way to communicate with people doing interesting things. In the couple of days that I’ve been using it, I’ve found some new blogs to read and come across some great resources. I may even have made a couple of friends. Who knows?

One thing that occurs to me as I write (and I’ve been thinking about this a lot regarding all social networking tools) is that the tools are only useful if lots of people use them. There are exceptions, of course, but isn’t the point of social networking to be social, to network? The tools that I use regularly are the ones that lots of other people use, like FaceBook and Ma.gnolia. I’m not saying that functionality isn’t important (and believe me, I’ve already learned the Twitter doesn’t always function), but Twitter just wasn’t interesting to me at all when I wasn’t connecting with anyone. Now that I am networking, it is my new obsession.

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