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Why use Twitter?

July 19, 2010

A couple of weekends ago, I was asked, “Why do you use Twitter?”  After that question, I was sitting at the computer, over the weekend, trying to figure out what motivates other people to use Twitter?  I know what motivates me, but then I got curious about what really motivates others to contribute to Twitter.

I read a lot of blogs, and articles on  “how” to use Twitter to productively market, promote, converse, and/or network.  But, not a lot of articles on “why” they use Twitter.  [tweetmeme source=”@Aidan_Foley” only_single=false]

I read a lot about Twitter etiquette, about “how” to get more followers, providing value to your followers, and/or being relevant to your followers.  But, I hear less and less about “why they use it.”  Why use Twitter at all, when there are already so many other distractions in our daily lives already?  (Not that Twitter should be labeled a distraction)  Why bother talking to people we might never meet in the real world?  What kind of relationship can we hope to form on Twitter, anyway?  Is there something wrong with us?  Do we have A.D.D. and we need more things to juggle?  Are we lonely, anti-social, or just plain weird?  😛

I find that I miss Twitter from time to time — Is that wierd?  I run across something interesting, and all I can think is that, I should Tweet that!?!  Maybe I don’t miss it as much as working out, eating every 3 hours, or wondering when the next time it may rain in Phoenix, but I miss it nonetheless.  I started to wonder what it is, exactly, that I like so much about Twitter?  I follow about enough folks on Twitter that I think I can engage from time to time, but it’s still overwhelming to be really involved with everyone.  What value does it provide me, or them?  And, to the original question, “Why do I use Twitter, anyway?”

For me, it came down to these five (5) reasons:

  1. Twitter gives me a current pulse on the news, and what people are talking about right now.  I just love getting sense of things as they are happening, real-time, before they are picked up by the news sites, and wire affiliations.
  2. Twitter gives me feedback on how Marketing Professionals are being perceived.   After all, most of us are into marketing something (to some extent) … even if its just ourselves.  I get a chance to see it, real-time, and respond to the discussion directly.
  3. Twitter broadens our reach to our followers — and lets me learn from them, too.  I’ve connected with people on Twitter who I didn’t know a whole lot about, but they have (or could have) something very relevant to say.  If they don’t, I can always unfollow them in the future to cut down on the noise .  Granted, of the followers I have on Twitter right now, most are social media types (to some extent), so its heavily weighted towards a particular type of person.
  4. Twitter allows me to get the latest positions from companies.  When I’m in transition, I will change my emphasis from individuals to companies that I follow.
  5. Twitter is my water cooler for friendly conversation.  It gives me a chance to take a break, and chat with folks informally, about serious, and not-too-serious stuff.  Sometimes, it’s about business or marketing, sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes, I might just hear something of interest, and just feel compelled to share it.

Can I tie my Twitter usage into real Return On Investment (ROI)?  Well, yes.  Sort of, and let me explain why.  Anytime there is an event, everyone gives feedback, whether good or bad, on Twitter.  Tying results too precisely to a specific tweet or 2, probably isn’t wise.  But, I was able to land a contract due to using Twitter, so yes, the ROI is huge!

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So how about you?  Why do you use Twitter?

Thanks for reading my blog discussion!

@Aidan_Foley

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