Monday, March 16, 2009

Do You Twitter?

UPDATE: I posted my article regarding Twitter in the wee hours of the morning, not realizing that today, using Twitter would be taking an historical step. Check out this article: "John McCain to be "Twitterviewed": First interview conducted over Twitter" ---- needless to say, I followed both McCain and ABC's George Stephanopoulos as they went through the Interview, live, via Twitter. It was interesting to see Twitter applied in this way.

. . . . . . . . back to original post . . . . . . . . .

I've been experimenting with Twitter these past few weeks.

When I first signed up, I didn't "get" it. I couldn't help thinking to myself, "What's the big fuss all about?"

I mean, really... ?

You see, I started out online back in the days when ICQ was all the rage and IM was just starting to make moves to overtake it in popularity. Six computers, three moves and ten years later and I've long since lost my appetite (and login info) to both.

So I was over there, dabbling with Twitter, trying to figure out just what the heck it was that everyone thought was so cool about it.

And then one of the newsletters that I've been subscribed to mentioned they were on Twitter... and they included their Twitter link in the Newsletter.

That's when I discovered the "follow" function.

I thought, "Okay. This might be kind of cool. Get all the headlines before they even become headlines. I'll give it a shot."

So I clicked the little "follow" tab and that's when I noticed the "followers" section. Running my mouse over the followers following the newsletter in question I came across a few names I recognized.

I picked a few to check out their tweets -- and next thing you know -- I'm now following about a dozen.

Still, not completely convinced this would be something I could ever "get into" online, I left it at that for a few days, moving onto more interesting things. It was after those few days that another newsletter I was subscribed to handed me their twitter addy.

I clicked through, hit the little "follow" thingy... and believe it or not, that was the first time I actually saw the "home" link.

Clicking it, I certainly didn't expect to see the bunch of tweets waiting for me -- headlines I'd missed, links to some truly great online content, news, blogs. And I was stunned to find that I now had 5 people "following" me.

Following me? Imagine that.

Heck, I only had one tweet out there. (I believe it said something like "just checking this out")

Still, I wasn't entirely impressed with the "tweet" thing. (That was back on Sept/08)

Then February rolled around and one current event had me wanting to plug into a movement that was taking shape. I wanted to stay in front of what was happening, get the news before it became news, because I had a feeling it was shaping up into something pretty big (and of fair importance) here in this country.

So I found the twitterers that I needed to follow, the ones I knew would be "plugged in" to what was going on.

And sure enough, in just two days, I gathered all the information I needed on the subject... more than enough to write the article a client had requested. (Yes, I still do a bit of ghostwriting on the side.)

Same situation popped up in March, so I hopped over to Twitter and was amazed at how many people were now following me.

I'm still not sure why because I'm definitely not a very active tweeter.

But I may change that in the months ahead...

Maybe if I had a cell phone or other mobile device, I would have seen the value in this free service and respected it far more right off the bat. Thus far, it has proven to be a terrific resource for me.

So, here is My Power Tip on this.

If you're really looking to get "plugged in" on a subject or topic that you need to get a feel for what is going on before it makes headline news, a free twitter account can be an excellent asset to include with your other research tools.

It might take you awhile to find the best twitterers to follow to get the input you need ...but it's well worth it, IMHO.

And, like some on Twitter, it can also turn into a powerful way for you to get your own message out.

Check it out, then "follow" me on Twitter.

See you there...

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