I registered a Twitter more than one year ago, did some tests, then put it aside, having judged it as something silly and of zero practical use.
I was wrong.
Currently I am using it since a couple of months, and I am discovering great value into it.
Maybe my opinion changed due to a critical mass effect.
Here are some considerations:
- I tweet in english and not in my mother tongue: this gives broader audience and allows me to interact with far more people.
- I consider Twitter a new communication tool. It goes side by side with the many other I use and I am accustomed to: phone, email, cellphone, sms, mms, cellphone email, webmail, videoconferencing, skype, istant messenger, voip phone, blog, gmail/gwave, facebook, flickr, twitter. It is just the youngest one in the collection.
- I carefully select the people to follow, so to have a minimum impact on the time used for reading tweets. I like to follow people who produce their own contents. I quickly unfollow people just retweeting someone else all the time (I call them bouncers or reflectors).
I do not like situational tweets like "going home now, I am tired" or "waiting for my flight in SFO" or "it is now raining in Berkeley".
I also do not like tweets containing uncommented urls (this is usually enough for me to trigger unfollow).
I would like to select people basing more on geographical and country location, but this information is not always available (for example people like to write "Anywhere" or "Theran" to convey their global presence or a specific political meaning).
- I access Twitter mostly from my mobile phone (currently using Ubertwitter on Blackberry Curve 8900). I simply can not use any Twitter client while working on my office pc, because it is extremely distracting. I find great to use it from the phone because I can use it in free moments, wherever I am.
- I try not to waste other people bandwidth. I am sorry I had to unfollow a lot of people who simply tweet too much. This was one of the biggest problem I had to face in the beginning, when I tried to follow too many people, since it seems that many people actually use it for typing whatever they consider interesting.
- I try to keep up with the streams of my contacts, without losing their words. I currently follow about 180 people, but I need to reduce them. My good number is probably around 150.
- I do not follow automatically any of my followers, but I check daily if I have any of them, to see if their activities could be related to mine. I judge to follow after checking their stream, and checking the number of their updates. I decided not to consider people with empty profiles.
- I decided not to thank publically people who retweet my contents. I do not like to see empty thanking messages. My time is precious. And my followers time is precious too.
- I found that many users tend to "tweet for themselves", so producing too many tweets in the desire of being retweeted and gain more followers. This phase usually lasts for a while, then the user starts behaving better, and produces much better content.
- A lot of the currently most active Twitter users are social media professionals, or marketing people, web 2.0 entrepeneurs, sociologists and communication researchers. In most cases, to me, the opinions are just not enough different to ignite a productive debate. I hope that Twitter user base will broaden involving people from every field of business and culture.
Overall, my Twitter experience is good. Here is a list of the benefits that I got from this tool.
- Increased awareness about what is happening. Early trend detection. Since I do not watch any kind of TV. I occasionally read newspapers. I get the news from the radio, while driving, or from some minutes spent on news agency site and google news every morning.
- Personal Enjoyment and Culture.
- I find absolutely fascinating to be here and now with you, witnessing the development of thiis new great communication and groupware tool.
Marco ( @mgua on Twitter)