(Not, “I tweet, therefore I am.”) There’s a big difference and want to share the deep reasons why I tweet. Some reasons are obvious and some are a little less apparent. I hope this answers of the question of why I use Twitter.
I use Twitter for business. This includes but isn’t limited to finding customers, finding prospects, finding partners, researching competitors, researching the overall buzz and sentiment towards the brand I manage and marketing activities taking place and the engagement thereof. It’s safe to say that I get a healthy dose of Twitter at all hours of the day.
I use Twitter for making and reinforcing friendships. I wouldn’t have met many of the awesome people I know in Phoenix if I didn’t use Twitter. That is, Tyler Hurst, Heather Herr, Kathy Sacks, Derek Neighbors, Francine Hardaway, Noelle, Ross, Jay Thompson, Shailesh, Austin Baker, Sunny Thaper, Chuck Reynolds, Susan Baier, Charlene Kingston, Chris Lee, Jason Baer, Noah, Evo Terra and many, many others. These people are active on Twitter. These people put skin in the game and these people have opinions that keep the conversation going (and those me-too moments as well). I know that in the event I was in a moment of duress and I posted a Tweet they would be willing to lend a hand if I needed it.
I also use Twitter to keep up on current events. In fact, the only mainstream media coverage I watch are live-breaking events over the web or if I want to burn time, I curse at political pundits who have all the answers. Virtually any breaking news valuable to me is broken via Twitter, RT’d many people and matters. Specifically, I pay a little extra attention to MSNBC, Associated Press, NY Times, “BreakingNewz” and the usual Tech-o chamber like Scoble, Arrington, Swisher and Calacanis. While they might talk about the same stuff, they introduce a different perspective on tech-related topics.
No, I don’t use Twitter to pick up chicks. I admit, I background-check (aka, “stalk”) any potential prospects, just to see if they’ve got a Twitter and what they are passionate about. I guess I could pick up chicks from there, but I don’t see Twitter as a source of finding dating material. Twitter isn’t there yet — there is a huge opportunity for a dating company to capitalize off of Twitter. (Pssst! eHarmony and OkCupid…)
I seldom use Twitter to research other brands. Guilty as charged, I sometimes use Twitter to bitch about bad customer service. Unlike trolls, I actually desire a constructive resolution and will acknowledge their efforts to right a wrong. If I think something is broken or not functioning right, I will check to see what others are saying about it. Sometimes I plug in a product name in search to see coupons/deals and any immediate hubbub about it.
I use hashtags frequently although it has tarnished on me. The way I look at it, if a brand or other people are not already searching for “Infusionsoft“, nothing compels them to search for “#Infusionsoft” – but I will use hashtags when I’m live-streaming or engaging in an on-going dedicated stream of consciousness. For more formal subjects, I will use hashtags like metatags so I don’t have to unnaturally work them into a title and people develop an understanding of what the subject matter is.
Often, I take breaks on my Twitter usage. I can easily get burnt out on a block of thoughts that are on my screen and look forward to when they scroll off for more thoughts. As addictive as putting a $20 in a slot machine and scoring $300, I have to actively close Twitter otherwise it will consume me throughout any other pending tasks I have in real life. This also functions conversely; I often take breaks where I go deep into Twitter and engage in a lot of discussion. It’s like being plugged into IRC on the same channel and no one on Twitter is AFK. That, I like.
Politics … no, not really. I mean I will be happy to engage in a few discussions and share my thoughts; 140 characters is far too small to denigrate political matters. I will open up more around “current events” as others do. I respect the differing views of my followers and friends and don’t want to alienate them (or myself). #TCOT, #TLOT or just #GTFO. Really.
I sometimes look for events to do on Twitter. To find these, I plug in my closest airport code (#PHX) and see what things are going on. Sometimes just browsing by postal code will yield interesting tweets and topics. Tweetups/twtvites and other informal Twitter-friendly events are interesting to me but I need a little more notice before attending them.
Trending Topics … I used to like them. It was great being a part of memes ‘back in the day’ when the nerds controlled Twitter and actually ran the gamut of Trending Topics. Now, all I see are a bunch of people talking about the first thing to say after intercourse with a partner. Funny, but c’mon, every night people? In the recent incarnation of Trending Topics, it seems they are editorialized/moderated to the point of becoming irrelevant. I will check the topics once in a while, but really the people I follow are relevant and interesting enough.
I hope this has given you a little insight as to how (and why) I use Twitter. I don’t recommend you do what I do; do what you do. Have fun, enjoy it for what it is because sooner or later it will change and it will be just a distant memory to tell your kids about. I really (really) don’t care how you use Twitter because there is no other way to use it than to just discover it and enjoy it for yourself.
“I am, therefore I tweet.”