So now that you know what I hate about Twitter, let me share what makes me swoon. Yes, I love Twitter. I love how it nestles into my pocket on my iPhone, how it winks at me from my desktop and how it offers me a place to share my most recent thought with the world before I’ve even thought it through.
- Feed me! – I’m an information junkie. Don’t spoon-feed me information, pour it on; fill my brain with facts, figures, links and ideas. Maybe this is how I’m wired or maybe it comes from years working on a TV newsroom, where TVs are always blaring, keyboards constantly clicking and producers yell curses at the top of their lungs. Whatever the reason Twitter satisfies my craving. Wake up in the middle of the night and need a quick fix? Twitter is there. Want to know what people are talking about at any given moment? Check out the trends. Need some suggested reading? A new link is just a moment away. It’s like having the whole Internet pumped directly into my brain.
- Give Me a Great Big Glass of Google Juice – We all bow down before Google. The great and powerful one sends us people who want to buy what we’re selling. Twitter, with its real time updates and every present “buzz,” not to mention its search deals, provides both Google and it’s smaller but powerful friend Bing, with updates that help power your SEO rankings. In many cases companies report that Twitter now drives more traffic directly than Google searches. So as a traffic driving strategy, Twitter is da’bomb.
- Reach out and touch someone – You remember that old AT&T refrain, right? "Reach out and just say 'hi.'” I’ve always felt that you can reach just about anyone on the planet by dialing the right digits into the phone. But Twitter makes that process so much easier. In fact, you can find out interesting things about people you didn’t even know where that interesting. I follow Jay Feely, as he’s a kicker for the Jets (I follow most of the players on Twitter). Yesterday he landed himself into a fascinating discussion about religion and I learned about his political and religious leanings. Not that it changes my thoughts about him or the Jets, but it gives me a much richer, more nuanced and personal view of someone who I watch on TV each week. It’s not just that I can touch celebrities, but I can also meet people like Jeff Cutler and Joselin Mane, first online and then in person. These are people with whom I share something in common and who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Taken one step further, Twitter lets me put out a Tweet about my location and have an instant party. Then there are the tradeshows I can’t travel for, but can attend vicariously by searching on the hashtag.
- Get that stuff out fast! – Twitter Lists are great, aren’t they? A way to organize the people you follow into groups of like-types and make your full list of followers into something more manageable. Then you can share those with others, like a list of attendees at a show or a list of clients. Because the folks at Twitter get stuff out before they’re fully baked (see yesterday) they can get that stuff into the hands of the users and see what happens. The crowd tells Twitter what it wants, and Twitter delivers. Since they don’t need to worry so much about the business model for every little thing, there aren’t delays while board members discuss “monetization strategies.” Plus, as users, we’re not nickel-and-dimed to death in order to get the features we really want.
- Retweets – Oh yes, retweets. I know what you’re saying, “Chuck, you hated those yesterday,” and part of me does. But then there is the echo effect. Putting a link or thought on Twitter is kind of like sending off a message in a bottle. The currents are going to take it, people are going to retweet it and send it off to their readers, then maybe those readers will send it to their readers and it’ll land on the shore of some distant land where you’ll receive the most insightful comment you’ve ever heard.
- BONUS! Tweet Chats – The idea of an online chat has been around since the earliest days of the Internet. I remember talking with my friends on my school’s Unix systems via the talk function or using IRC. Back in the days of CompuServ we called it the “CB.” But Twitter takes this to a new level because people already have the tool. What’s more, you can just search on a hashtag like #journchat or #solopr and see the whole chat at a later time.
So what do you love about Twitter? Come on, don’t be shy. Show how you HEART Twitter.