I realize that Twitter isn’t for everyone but I think a lot of people who don’t have Twitter don’t realize it’s purpose. Just like when Facebook was new, a lot of people just didn’t understand the point of it. “I mean, who wants to read random status’ all day?” “If I want to know what’s going on with someone then I can check their facebook.” “It seems stalkerish.” All things I’ve heard people without Twitter say about it. But I’m here to tell you, it’s really not! The more I use Twitter the more I’m realizing what a really neat little tool it is. So, here are my top 10 things you should know about Twitter before you judge it.

Before I get started, heres some Twitter lingo you may want to know…

Twitter Lingo
Tweet – to post a comment, link, or picture using your username on Twitter
Follow – to be able to read another users tweets
Retweet – to repost something another user tweeted
Mention – to include another username in your tweet
Tweet Deck – the list of tweets that update as the people you follow tweet

1. Great for keeping in touch. This is the most obvious reason. If you don’t feel like wading through games, pictures, and wall posts on Facebook to actually find out how a friend is doing, you simply check your tweet deck to see what the last thing they posted was. Much less clutter.

2. Twitter folks are less judgemental. I’m sure EVERYONE knows what I’m talking about. There is always that one person who has to say something inappropriate, judemental, or even rude on your FB status or picture. Necessary? Not at all. Twitter is so different. As one of my friend’s put it so elequently, “People who read Twitter actually want to read my status.” Therefore, much less peanut gallery input from the loser who stalks FB 8 hours a day.

3. Ability to contact more than one person at the same time. OK, I know that FB has this ability as well BUT I find it much easier to connect through Twitter. My friends who have Twitter I talk to probably 75% more than my friends who don’t have Twitter. It’s just an easier tool to connect to people in a lot of ways. And when it comes to making plans with mutliple people, it seems to be much quicker.

4. Ask for advice and get instant answers. If you are anything like me, when you shop, or cook, or have any general questions, who do you usually go to for answers or advice? Your friends, right? You shoot a text, make a quick phone call, or even email them if you are near a computer. Well, why not reach all your friends at the same time by simply tweeting a question? Example: While shopping Saturday, I came accross the quatrefoil mirror (just learned that’s what you call that shape – yay!), I snapped a picture and sent it to Twitter and asked a quick “What do you think, Twitter?” Within 5 minutes, I got 3 positive tweets back and I felt much more confident in my purchase. For me, I think its nice to know there’s a way to get an opinion so quickly.

5. Instant customer service. Beyond all the friend communication, there are many other good uses for Twitter such as customer service. Say you are having trouble with your cable. You have called their help line and been placed on hold for 30 minutes. You finally talk to someone and they don’t seem to be very much help. Meanwhile, you are wasting your time on the phone when you are at work or even worse, using up your weekend! One of the best things about Twitter is you can search for companies who have a customer service username, mention them in your tweet, and within minutes, a response and usually a request for your phone number so they can call you. I used this feature just the other day with Time Warner Cable and it worked like a charm. Very smart angle for companies as well!

6. Coupons and deals. Some of the best coupons and deals I have come accross have been through Twitter. By following some of the coupon twitter accounts, you get messages about free coupons for you to download, specials around your town, and even free promotions! Also, following other thrifty friends is a plus because they will retweet some things you may have missed. Example: My Old Navy coupon for 50% off Winter Coats back in October. I totally snatched that coupon right off a freind’s retweet!

7. Blog updates. This one is a big plus for those of us who love to blog stalk. A lot of your favorite bloggers have Twitter. Many times once they have put up a new blog post, they will tweet that they have posted on their blog. This is a great reminder to go check out their blog soon!

8. News updates. By following the local news station, People, and even a weather Twitter username, I get updates throughout the day about breaking news in my city, celebrity news, and also weather updates with the forecasts right at my fingertips without having to Google or web search. My coworker gets email updates from our local news station and 9 times out of 10, I find out the breaking news quicker than her via Twitter. You can also follow some of your favorite celebrities and see their daily tweets which is kind of cool!

9. Great for making friends. This one kind of goes hand in hand with the blogging network. By following some of the blogs you love, you can tweet your favorite bloggers and become Twitter friends! Example: There is a blog that I have been reading FOREVER because we share a love for Pugs. I mentioned her one day in a tweet with a Pug question, she responded,  and I now think of us as Twitter friends! We’ve never met in person but yet we have a freindship via Twitter. Or you can also search for others who you may have things in common with and follow them. Example: I’m interested in doing more cooking right now. So I did a search for usernames who post recipes or cooking advice. Great tool!

 10. A really great community to be a part of. For the most part, everyone on Twitter is super supportive. It can be a really great place to get some positive reinforement for whatever you are going through. It’s a great place to find prayer warriors, inspirational quotes, and even just to read that other people are going through the same things as you. It’s a great place to find that everyone else is human too. Which I think we all need from time to time.

In closing here is my analogy:  Think of the entire social networking world as a huge sports event where the tickets are all free. FB would be considered all the regular seats. Easily accessable, everyone has them, and you have a good view but it’s crowded.

Twitter would be your VIP box seats. Same game just a better view 🙂

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