I’m sitting on the northbound Caltrain, rhythmically nodding in and out of sleep and reading through my emails. One in particular from a close friend got me thinking :
Yo what is the point of having a twitter unless you [are] a celebrity? The only thing a person gets out of it is a pat on the back or acknowledgment. Other than these frivolous rewards it serves no financial, practical or relevant gains.
I’m sure my friend is aware of how twitter was instrumental in toppling corrupt governments, and a “twitter purpose” google search will direct him to hundreds of articles about how business and celebrities are using twitter to reach out to fans. However, he believes that anybody else using twitter does it for validation. His view on social media is about as bleak as the message in this video:
While it is true that some people narcissistically treat shares, pins, retweets as acknowledgments, the real value of social media lies in its ability to give you ease and more control over your information consumption and dissemination.
Control over what you read.
Twitter’s 58 million tweets per day from over 600 million active users is a veritable source of real time information –from Obama to the girl next door. It’s the biggest source of news, public service announcements, thoughts, opinions, alerts and everything in between.
If you’re anything like my friend or me you’re probably revolted by the idea of caring about all that information. You don’t have to. Twitter let’s you customize the twitter firehose of information into a trickle of exactly what you want to see on your feed. You only follow the entities you care about, whose information you value; and only their content will populate your feed.
For example, since I’m interested in marketing, my twitter feed usually shows me articles, thoughts, and musing from people and companies in the marketing industry like Leo Burnett, AdAge, BrightEdge or Google Search.
Additionally, you could also use a hashtag (#) to find and follow a conversation about the topic that follows the hashtag. The hashtag gives you access to a real time conversation about a topic between tweeters. You could find, and read people’s opinion about something and chime in as well or organize a revolution using the #Jan25 & #Egypt.
Control and power in your words
The very public and egalitarian nature of tweets allowed thousands of revolutionaries to organize, and broadcast their message to the twitterverse garnering them international attention as well. This very public nature of tweets also forces corporations to heed complaints from consumers to prevent backlash from the more interconnected public. With twitter the public can disseminate information more quickly and that helps them get noticed.
Twitter allows you to connect with people. It’s as simple as replying to a tweet and celebrities, influencers and potential mentors can get your message immediately. They are also more inclined to respond as your message and their response is public as well.
Similarly, I’ve been using twitter to grow my online persona. It’s no different from me in real life but I have a bigger audience now. As somebody looking to break into the marketing industry (and also as writer) there isn’t a better platform for me to grow and reach an audience. Tweets are short, sweet and designed to be shareable. Twitter makes the dissemination of content so much easier.