When I first joined Twitter, I wondered what to tweet. What could I possibly say that was “tweet-worthy?” If memory serves, I think my first tweet was literally, “TWEET!” Needless to say, it didn’t produce many re-tweets or spur any discussions. I was just testing out the chops!
Turns out many people are reluctant to join Twitter because the feel they have nothing to say. I just read an interesting article in the New York Times that looks at Twitter benefits from a different angle. Essentially, it’s not about what you’re saying (you could be saying nothing at all!), it’s about what dialogues you’re tapping into.
“At its best, the social medium is a perpetual, personalized news service about topics of your choosing — whether health care reform, tech news or the latest episode of “Gossip Girl” — filtered and served to you by people who care a lot about what you care a lot about. “Even the most prolific users say Twitter has become more useful as a way to tap in to the discussions of the day than to broadcast their own thoughts. And once you get pulled in, you might just find you have something to say after all.
“Biz Stone, Twitter’s co-founder, suggests that naysayers simply log on to Twitter’s home page and search for a topic they are interested in, whether it’s their favorite sports team, the name of their company or a topic in the news.
“Within a minute, they understand the appeal, he said.”
Did you know that Twitter users post 50 million messages daily? And that 20 percent of posts and 57 percent of repeat messages contain a link? So, tapping into the right conversations can easily bring the news that interests you most right to your fingertips.
The article offers a few tips to help those who remain reluctant reap the benefits of Twitter:
A CUSTOM NEWS FEED – Example: “By the time Bridget Baker, who works in public relations in Seattle, checks Google Reader while eating lunch at her desk, she has already read most of the articles in her feed because she saw them on Twitter.”
CHECK YOUR LISTS – Example: “Janessa Goldbeck works in Washington for a rights organization, the Genocide Intervention Network. Each morning, she checks a few Twitter Lists of people who work in human rights. ‘I don’t want to follow all those people, but I can get a snapshot of the landscape each day by looking at the Lists,’ she said. ‘It’s the quickest, most personalized news filter you could imagine.’ ”
ATTEND A CONFERENCE, VIRTUALLY – Example: “Most conferences these days have a Twitter hashtag. At the exclusive TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., in February, for example, attendees added #TED to the end of their posts.
“By searching #TED on Twitter, people could read the latest updates (and skip the $6,000 attendance fee).”
ASK QUESTIONS – Example: “Bertalan Meskó, a medical student at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, wrote a post about a patient with mysterious symptoms: ‘Strange case today in internal medicine rotation. 16 years old boy with acute pancreatitis (for the 6th! time). Any ideas?’
“Within hours, specialists worldwide had responded, suggesting gallstones, lupus or growths on the pancreas. One of the suggestions helped the doctors with a diagnosis. “‘It would have been impossible to find that specialist through e-mail, because we had no idea who to contact,’ Mr. Meskó said.” Now would you look at that!? Twitter saves lives. What a crazy world we live in….
This post was first published on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense.