Thursday, June 14, 2012

Love Birds' Top 5 Reasons You Need to Embrace Twitter

Probably Tweeting - I promise I don't while eating!
I shared how I won a free Zip Car over the Memorial Day weekend via a Twitter contest and I wanted to go in further detail as to why I love Twitter (and not just for this reason!).

I have to be honest: when I first heard of Twitter I thought, "Oh no, yet another social media fad to waste my time." My sister Ariane was on it and kept singing its praises so I decided to sign up anyway a little over 3 years ago. I hardly used the service, but when I saw people posting Twitter updates to Facebook that made me laugh or were thought-provoking I decided to re-explore it. Also, as I grow my blogging and business brands I kept reading about how important it was to have Twitter.

As I slowly embraced Twitter and now after using it for three years (more heavily in the past year), here are my top 5 reasons why it needs to be embraced:
  1. News breaks on Twitter first - remember all the buzz about the guy who unknowingly live tweeted about the invasion at Osama bin Laden's compound? And when  Whitney Houston passed away I knew because of Twitter before it made it on the news. This point is also juxtaposed with the fact that there can be errors/false reports so too, remember to take tweets with a grain of salt until verified by multiple sources. 
  2. It's better than Facebook - before Twitter I used to be one of those people who annoyingly constantly update their status. Twitter is just the status portion of Facebook. Limited to 140 characters it makes "status updates" to the point and often witty. You can go beyond 140 characters and there are URL shrinking tools available to "Tweet longer." Additionally, while I don't like it, there is a feed that pushes your tweets directly to Facebook. Instead I leave Facebook for more personal life updates, sharing things I find around the internet, staying in touch with friends and I use Twitter for up-to-the moment updates. So no, I don't need to post on my personal Facebook page every stinkin' thing Nia's doing or what she or I am eating for lunch, but if I want to that's what my Harlem Love Birds twitter account and Facebook page are for. Also, it's not constantly changing like Facebook. What you see is pretty much what you get!
  3.  It gets you out of your comfort zone - while Facebook tends to keep you in a circle of people you know, because of hashtags (themed topics) you can find people all over the world talking about similar things or who have shared interests; for example, as a Toastmaster following the hashtag, I was able to congratulate someone on another continent, who I have never met who tweeted that they had completed their Competent Communicator. They replied and that was it. I guess it's kind of like random acts of kindness!  
  4. Twitter is the city that never sleeps - I know it's supposed to be New York City or Las Vegas, but really it's Twitter. I can go on Twitter in the midst of insomnia, or when Nia was a baby, in the middle of night feedings and scroll through finding amusement and comfort. I often see moms asking each other questions - sending mini-polls out to the Twitterverse and getting great feedback. And when people are rude or annoying there's the ability to delete or mute them. I LOVE muting especially if there are spoilers on my timeline for movies, books or shows I haven't experienced yet. 
  5. You can network (and win stuff too!) -  Winning that Zip Car over Memorial Day weekend was perfect timing as we had a lot of places we wanted to go and renting a car the traditional route as well as using our paid Zip Car membership was going to be pricey. I just so happened to see the contest come across my timeline, entered in less than 10 seconds and found out a day later that I had won! Zip Car is well known for their social media savviness, but there are other brands on Twitter too and they are great about responding. As my regular readers know, I am a squeaky wheel, and I am careful to give both praise and constructive criticism on Twitter and consider seeking out building branding partnerships with them. From a personal perspective, I also have a Twitter account under my real name, but I don't tweet under it - I only follow others. This is a good point to remember too especially if you work for a company that does not allow you to engage in social media. It's so valuable to even be on Twitter just to read, not necessarily tweet. Job posts and serious stuff is posted too and you can create lists to categorize your interests. It really is what you make it!

So there you have it! Wanna learn more about Twitter and understand the lingo? Check out this fantastic guide courtesy of Mashable. 

Why or why haven't you embraced Twitter? If you have, why do you like it? Ever won everything cool on Twitter? If so, please share!