It's only been a few months, but in that time, Twitter has changed my life - not profoundly, but in small, easily managed increments that continue to delight. My son (and semi-resident IT guy) had been extolling the virtues of Twitter to me long before I joined. Finally, late last year I gave in and became a citizen of the Twitterverse. Now I find myself an unofficial goodwill ambassador and card-carrying member of the Twibe. Twitter has captured my attention in a way that Linkedin or even Facebook never has. For me Twitter fills a small, but compelling niche that compliments and adds to my life online. Here are just a few of the reasons that Twitter has become an important part of my daily routine.
1. Twitter is uniquely my own. And anyone else who tweets can say the same thing. It can be used for selling a product or an idea, for keeping in touch or expanding your world. You can use it to reinforce your worldview or create a new one , but everyone who uses Twitter fashions a personal twittersphere in their own likeness. I tweet mostly about food, fitness, lifestyle, and health. But I also tweet to friends, old and new, about the ridiculous and the sublime. Jokes are traded, lives are shared. I have twitter BFF's, twitter buddies, twitter acquaintances, and a millions of tweeps I'll never know.
2. Twitter creates community. I've developed a routine that is probably like many on Twitter. I brush my teeth, feed the dogs, make a cup of tea and see who's in the Twitter stream. This is my breakfast club, people like @JimRT, @danamoos, @markhundley and the folks @CabotCoop are there and we check in with each other -- 140 characters at a time. I also have a larger circle of tweeps I have come to rely on for information and wisdom. The Twitterati supply me with endless tweets that help in my job and in my life. Food, travel, health, entertainment -- it's all in the stream, you just have to know who and what to look for. I know I can rely on @RecipeGirl for incredible meal suggestions, and @averyyalekamila for the latest on what's happening in my town, @sambrooklyn for movie reviews and girl talk, @griffinclubmerv for a guffaw. All these tweeple make my world bigger and better.
3. Twitter is immediate. Lately, it seems that most major news events have been reported on Twitter before they've made it to broadcast outlets. Granted, tweets deal with rumor and fact in much the same way, but the immediacy of the Twitter stream can be thrilling. The next best thing to watching a sporting event is hearing play-by-play from the stream. I followed the USA/Brasil soccer game in real time on Twitter.
4. Twitter is a handy research tool, when used with caution. In my work as Consumer Lifestyle Commentator for Cabot Creamery, my charge is to connect with two specific demographics -- women and baby boomers -- and reach out to them, in person, in print and on line. I prepare for my day by checking on topics, conveniently hash tagged- # - for ease of searching. I check #fitness, #food and #foodies, then I check in with the tweeps I follow for fresh content.
5. Twitter asks big questions. Lest you think that much of Twitter skews to the frivolous, you need only to look at tweets by people like Huffpost.com contributor and public philosopher @TomVMorris. Tom connects people, ideas, and values and he does it all in spare, challenging sentences. Last week I tweeted Tom, asking him to talk about acceptance. Over the course of afternoon, he offered a treatise on the nature of acceptance packaged as twearls of wisdom. And when Tom gets started, others join in. Important ideas have a new life on line and Twitter is a big part of that.
As he said in a recent tweet: "Twitter is the world's greatest cocktail party, and no one has to clean up afterwards! It's the water cooler for the creative class."