Lots of people don’t ‘get’ Twitter when they first try it, but like any social network, it doesn’t work until you are following lots of people aligned with your interests, and people are following you. And because it’s such a simple idea/interface, I think it’s nuances and advantages might be elusive, but I can give you some pretty strong reasons for using Twitter and why it’s not ‘useless':
1. Spidering and interconnectivity between platforms
One big reason is that when you ‘tweet’, it spiders out to many different platforms. Twitter also allows for interconnecting between platforms. You can connect your ‘tweets’ so that they show up on your Facebook status, as sms messages to and from mobile phones, and within instant messaging like Google chat.
So, for example, I can tweet from my mobile phone, and it instantly goes to all these things: my Facebook status, on the Twitter website, my buddies’ IM windows (Google chat or AIM, depending on how they’ve set it up), and for those who’ve set up to receive on their mobile, to my buddies’ mobiles. That’s one action (me tweeting from my mobile) that goes to 4 different platforms. Now that’s efficient!
When something like this makes my life simpler by taking one effort and multiplying its effects, that’s cool
and speaking of multiplying effects…
2. Google loves Twitter
Meaning that if you want to move up in the Google search ranks, Twitter or microblogging in general, is a great way to do that.
Let’s say that you’d like to drive traffic to your band’s site (or your company site or a project site, etc). Then what you’d want to do is optimize search engine results – to move your site up in Google rankings and to have lots of hits associated with that so that naturally moves people toward your site. That’s called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. (That’s my rough definition of SEO – anyone else is welcome to try to clarify that).
A couple of links on Twitter & SEO:
Twitter, SEO, and Online Marketing: You’re Missing the Point
Twittering for SEO
Are you trying to create more online presence for yourself, your band or your company? Then you need to be on it.
3. Breaking news
I now get most of my breaking news from Twitter. Because it’s so immediate and mobile, it’s an ideal platform for distributing breaking news. Check out Here’s how reporters use Twitter for an idea of how journalists and news services are using Twitter.
Like I said before, I love that I can tweet from my mobile. I just send a msg to 40404 and it instantly updates several platforms. I can also receive my friends’ tweets by mobile (and you can specify which ones). There are also a host of different Twitter clients that make it super-easy to update on the go, like Twittelator for iPhone or TwitterBerry for Blackberry.
The ‘tweets’ are limited to 140 characters at a time, so it’s easily do-able. It’s almost like writing a haiku – short poetry that’s search-friendly. :-)
I’m not the kind of person that keeps a blog on a regular basis, but even I can do 140 characters once a day!
So I do my one or two tweets a day, from my mobile, or from a Twitter client, or the web, or whatever, and it keeps my friends ‘in touch’ but it also provides visibility for whatever I tweet about.
Some links to consider:
Student ‘Twitters’ his way out of Egyptian jail — a student covering anti-government protests in Egypt got arrested and was able to send a one-word tweet that got him help getting out of jail
Business TV: Peter Shankman explains Twitter in a paragraph – short n sweet explanation from PR & social media guru Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter. Note: Peter built his Help a Reporter community, which connects reporters with news sources, strictly from using Facebook and Twitter. Within 3 months of starting, he had about 20,000 members and it continues to grow exponentially.
Clive Thompson covers the idea of “ambient awareness” really well in his NY Times article Brave New World of Digital Intimacy
The question isn’t “Why use Twitter?” but rather, “How can I leverage Twitter to work for me?”
I think there are two things that you must do before making a quick-snap judgment about it being useless, so that you can make it work for you and see some advantages:
1. Find people to follow that are in your industry and scope of interests
Whatever you’re into, be it journalism or music or marketing or international development, etc…find the people on Twitter that are involved in and talk about those issues.
For example, if you’re into journalism, check out How journalists can master Twitter .
Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and do a search on your topic of interest and see who’s talking about what and add them accordingly. For example, are you into international development? Try typing in “international development” and see what results you get. Try another one – you’ll be surprised at the amount of intellectual discussion that goes on via tweeting.
2. Listen and give feedback
Part of building community is also being community. If you want to tweet announcements about your band/company/project/etc, that’s fine, but if your tweets are ‘one-way’ and you only tweet to tell people about upcoming gigs, you’re really not having a conversation. People can usually smell marketing a mile away. Just be real. Tweet in the moment. Give feedback and reply when you feel moved to. It’s about building relationships. This is not just about Twitter, but about social media in general. If you want to have online presence, and you want people to talk about your project/idea/company/etc, then you have to be a good listener too.
Ok, so my challenge to you all is to find Twitterers that are involved in things that align with your interests. Share who you find with everyone in class by posting those Twitterers to our Twitter roll page. This will be part of next week’s assignment.
I made significant edits to an entry on Gujarati cuisine because it was lacking a lot of information. Gujarati cuisine refers to Gujarat which is one of the states of India. I love all types of Indian food, and Gujarati food is probably significantly different from what you get at most Indian restaurants. I wanted to add to this entry because this is part of my heritage even though I was born and raised in New Jersey. I definitely will be going back to the entry to add even more information as I have time. I am sure that there plenty of people out there that will correct my article and definitely will be able to add to it further. There are so many varieties of foods that I did not get to cover even from this fairly small state in India because each region within the state has a slightly different style and specialty. I am interested to see how the original author responds. I think it feels good to have contributed to the “public domain” and I am relieved that this is a collaborative process because I definitely do not know everything about the topic.
I struggled a little bit to find references for my information, because much of it I considered as common knowledge. I definitely would not be breaking the “no new research” rule of wikipedia, but it will be interesting to see what happens to the article. Nothing has changed so far, but I will continue to keep an eye on it. I hope my mom will be proud. Haha.
I really enjoyed the Jenkins reading this week, particularly everything under the heading “The Black Box Fallacy.” What I loved so much about it was the emphasis on differentiating between “delivery technologies” and actual media. I think far too often there’s a tendency to conflate the media technology with the medium and as a result bastardize McLuhan’s claim that the medium is the message, thus turning the technology into the message.
People get excited about podcasts as this revolutionary new medium when in fact they’re just a new delivery system for the spoken word. Whether we hear that spoken word around a campfire, through a phonograph, a transistor radio, or via a digital file we’ve downloaded and put on our iPods for later listening, it’s a human’s voice we’re listening to. One could argue convincingly that these permutations each drastically alter the communication happening but I don’t believe that to be absolutely true. The fact that, for example, radio is definitely not the all powerful medium it once was doesn’t diminish the fact that it still plays an important role in our culture. I always fall back on NPR when I want to hear news without the advertising-driven agenda for sensational news. Add the fact that when some kind of catastrophic, apocalyptic event hits, radios may in fact be the last line of human communication. I really love this quote to that point on page 14: “A medium’s content may shift, its audience may change, and its social status may rise or fall, but once a medium establishes itself as satisfying some core human demand, it continues to function with the larger system of communication options.”
When Jenkins discusses the various boxes that live in his living room as an example of why this one box to rule them all idea is a farce I can’t help but identify. My setup is relatively streamlined at the moment with four boxes (AV receiver, DVD player, Xbox 360, and Tivo Satellite Receiver). However I think about adding a Mac Mini there or perhaps an Apple TV (I know, you’re thinking I’m indulging in typical male tech fantasizing but I swear I’m approaching a point). The reason I’m thinking about throwing one of those two last devices I mentioned into the mix is because lately my DVD player is collecting dust. I’ve got three unwatched Netflix DVDs that I’ve had for more than a month. The reason for this is web video. However, watching a movie on my laptop or at my desk is a less than ideal option. If I hooked up a computer of some sort to my television then that problem is solved. So you see, it’s not that I’ve stopped enjoying films. But the way that I consume films has changed. As a matter of fact, I could probably eschew all those devices but the computer and maybe the AV receiver and I’d be fine. However, as Jenkins mentions, my “situated context” determines the optimal way to consume media.
In my mind, convergence is less about stuffing all the capabilities of various devices into one omnipotent device than it is about seeing new ways that the media transmitted by those devices can relate to and interact with one another. To briefly touch on Hopkins and tie his article to Jenkins, if people and human interaction are the medium, Facebook and Twitter are simply different delivery systems for that medium. They will never replace face-to-face contact but they can alter (by enhancing and/or diminishing) that contact.
I was amazed to read about the way Japan has taken Cell phone usage to another level. Not so much with the texting but with the gaming communities built around it. Was a little confused with 3G technology. I’ve heard this word being used quite a bit with regards to the future of mobile technology but does anyone know exactly what it means?
I’m a huge fan of Nokia. I currently own an iPhone after decades of using Nokia and the truth is I actually prefer Nokia. The iPhone has great apps but the phone itself is bulky, texting is not as easy, and its very delicate. With my Nokia, I could text with my eyes shut and no matter what I did to my phone it would still work just fine.
It seems my new wikipedia post didn’t work out very well. I was trying to get an overall outcome before I posted. My wikipedia entry was new and had to do with a friends band who has a large following and is signed to a label, but wikipedia is somewhat strict on band entries due to their inconsistent nature. I may appeal again and try later, and I’ll post then if it works out.