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Why You Should Twitter

Last spring I started hearing about this thing called Twitter.  When I inquired, I was told that it is micro-blogging.  Basically, you have 140 characters to answer the question, What are you doing now?

My reaction was similar to my reaction when I first discovered blogs. Who on earth cares what I’m doing right now?

So I blew it off as a time suck that I had a) no interest in and b) no desire to figure out.

Months went by and I kept hearing more about Twitter and I kept ignoring it.  Finally I read this post by Karla at Looking Towards Heaven and I was convinced to give it a try.  I’ve never looked back.

Twitter is a touted as a great way to promote your blog.  This turns a lot of people off because people blog for different reasons, and some aren’t as interested in self-promotion as others.  But I’m here to tell you that Twitter is NOT just about self promotion.

While it IS a great way to promote your blog, the reason I love Twitter is that it’s a never-ending blog party.  It’s a place to socialize and yuck it up, it’s a place to throw out a question and get a helpful response, it’s a place to find new friends and new blogs to read, and yes it is a place to promote your blog(s).

If you aren’t on Twitter, you don’t know what you’re missing.

For me, one of the most surprising benefits has been finding new friends.  When I started out on Twitter, I followed everyone I recognized (like Facebook, Twitter connects with your email provider and gives you a list of everyone in your email address book that has a Twitter account) and I soon discovered new friends that I had never really connected with reading their blogs.

Another benefit to Twitter is finding posts that I wouldn’t find otherwise.  I often follow the links that others throw out there.  While too much self-promotion gets old, if you balance promoting your blog(s) with your social interaction, it’s a great way to gain new followers and find new blogs to read.

If you Twitter, you absolutely MUST use Twhirl or something like it.  In Karla’s words,

I found myself going to my Twitter page throughout the day, and found it distracting and disruptive. I’d often check it only to see that there wasn’t much conversation going on at that time.  Twhirl has been time saver. Not only can you reply and send direct messages without having to type @_________ , but it also pops up a message each time a Twitter is posted from someone you are following. It’s a nice subtle message in the lower right side of your screen. So no more popping on and off Twitter all day. Some may find this distracting — but I find it to be less disruptive than completely stopping what I am doing to check.

I love my Twhirl.  Unlike Twitter, that you have to refresh when you want to see the new tweets, Twhirl is a pop-up box that you keep it open at all times, and it automatically refreshes when a new “tweet” comes through.  (Tweet = a comment on twitter.)  You can turn if off when you don’t want the distraction, but I love it because I feel like I’m constantly connected with the outside world.

And now I’ll be Twittering on the go because I have downloaded Twitterberry to my new Blackberry, and I can Twitter when I’m waiting to pick up a kid at school or waiting for an appointment in the doctor’s office.  LOVE THAT!

In a nutshell, if you aren’t Twittering, if you think you don’t have time or interest, GIVE IT A TRY!  I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

One piece of advice — use a handle (username) that is recognizable and relates to your blog.  Mine is dcrmom which is a throwback to my earlier blogging days when I didn’t share my real name.  For the record, I use dcrmom as my handle everywhere.  DCR are my 3 kids’ first initials and then MOM, because I am their mom, after all!

If you do decide to start Twittering (or if you’re already a Twitter addict), be sure to follow me at http://twitter.com/dcrmom!

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25 thoughts on “Why You Should Twitter

  1. Ditto! I resisted Twitter for a while, but I found it to be immensely valuable in getting to know others, and recharging my blogging enthusiasm. I use TwitterFox, a Firefox plugin like Twhirl, and I love it.

    It kind of makes you feel like being in an office, even when you’re at home alone.

  2. We talked about Twitter maybe the majority of our “networking/social media” conversation yesterday. The panelists all agreed it is THE MOST important networking tool as a mommyblogger.

  3. I Stumbled you! I love Twitter, especially via the means you listed: Twhirl and Twitterberry. Seeing you addicts at She Speaks is what made me give it a try. I love the sense of community and bouncing ideas off of each other.

  4. LOL I never thought I’d see the day! I remember your first few days on Twitter you were NOT sold to say the least.

    Now you’re the spokesperson. HAHAHHAAHH!

  5. I doubt if it’s any secret to you just how much I love Twitter. 🙂 The connection is awesome. Not really available any other way.

  6. I was really skeptical about Twitter at first also. But, like you, I kept hearing more and more about it and decided to take the plunge and see what happened.

    I love it and through it have discovered new blogs, great articles, and deepened relationships with family and friends.

    http://twitter.com/likeiwasaying

  7. Holy Cow! Are you reading my mind or what?

    They talked about this at the conference I was just at as a way to build community with your small groups and keep updated on what is going on with anyone you are leading/coaching.

    So, I logged in for the first time in over 2 months!

    I just always feel a little like I am stalking people. Is it rude to follow people you really don’t communicate with otherwise?

    I am hoping to be blog inspired again so maybe this will help!
    I also just added it to my phone but not too sure how that all works so I will have to work on that.

  8. I don’t know… I’ve hemmed and hawed over the whole Twitter thing for a while now. It’s the whole time argument that you mentioned. But, maybe I need to give it a try. I’m just worried about one more distraction that will allow the laundry and dishes to pile up even higher than they already are, yanno?

  9. My husband uses Twitter all the time and loves it, but I’ve never signed up for it. My life is barely interesting enough to write a blog post a day! Hubby twitters on his phone a lot, but I don’t have a data plan on mine. Maybe I’ll sign up for it, but I don’t if if I’ll have anything interesting to twitter about.

  10. Twirling, Twittering – sounds a lot like my daughters Nutcracker Rehearsals! I do appreciate the post though…I have been wondering about the twitter craze, have not downloaded twitterberry yet (didn’t know I could) and am feeling like you did months ago…”I don’t have the time to figure it out” But I am sure I will someday and I am sure I will be pleased and I am sure it will put me in front my laptop even more! For now…Just me and blog! After the Holidays I may pull this post back up and adventure into the twitters and tweets with the rest of the wonderful bloging moms I love to read about!

    Thanks
    Terra

  11. I signed up and still don’t get it. How can I be so tech savy and still not get how to twitter or be a twitter or twit.

  12. I’m still a hold out. I can barely blog and read blogs. Maybe one day I’ll get in the game, but I think I’m afraid I’d love it!!! 😉

  13. I love twittering… I feel like its a much more real way to quickly connect, get advice, and encourage people. I need to make all of my handles the same.

  14. Hi there! New blogger here-

    I’ll probably be the last Gen-Xer alive to twitter, seeing as how I was the last Gen Xer to facebook…

    I’m investigating…slowly, but surely…
    Thanks for giving me a better feel for it-

  15. Couldn’t agree with you more. I use Twitter on my blackberry too and it’s funny (and sort of sad, really) that with Twitter, I never feel alone. The other day at work I took a late lunch break by myself and was sitting at the restaurant not feeling like a total loser because I had nearly 300 people to “talk” to. I love Twhirl too- though when you follow 300 people it can be distracting!

  16. Thank you! I need such guidance in this area–I’ll definitely look at twurl–Amy was telling me about how she organizes her follows into folders too. ANother thing I need. I just figured out how you can see the @ replies. D’uh.

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