social media for the socially awkward
For years I have wondered about the purpose or function of Twitter. Status updates were something for Facebook. Why was anything in my life so urgent or important it had to be announced to all my friends in real time? And in 140 characters or less? Ridiculous.
A year or so ago I attended a conference where a presenter shared her Twitter profile to the audience of about 200 (@jjmillard). She asked us to tweet any questions we had and she would be sure to address them during her presentation. It was great! I used it and had my question answered quickly.
OK, so that was one application. After the conference I didn’t open my Twitter account for months. I just didn’t care about the nonsense my friends posted. I heard about Twitter being instrumental in the Egyptian uprising, a mob at the Mall of America, and as a way teens were bullying other high school students. But still none of it resonated for me.
Then I joined Pinterest.
I put this off for a long time. Everyone was doing it, which was reason enough for me to stay away. But eventually, at another conference, I was convinced of its usefulness and requested an invite from a co-worker (who will probably never let me live it down after all my whining about it).
When I joined Pinterest I had to indicate what some of my interests were. Then it randomly assigned me a whole group of complete strangers to follow. Naturally, as a Facebook geek, this was totally counterintuitive and I spend a solid hour “unfollowing” these folks and adding all my friends and following them.
A large percentage of my friends pin the most uninteresting things. Ideas for their classrooms (I know a lot of teachers), plans for their weddings, hairstyles, fashion, books they want to read, and high-calorie recipes. Blech.
So I slowly went through the process of “unfollowing” most of my friends and adding in a bunch of strangers who posted gardening tips, kitchen remodel ideas, sarcastic humor, and other items I found more tolerable.
And then it dawned on me. Real slow. This was how I could use Twitter!
So applying what I like to call the “Pinterest Principle” I began to follow strangers and organizations who tweeted about topics I was interested in. And I ditched most of my friends who liked to tweet about their favorite bands, inspirational quotes, and links to lolcats. (Ok, maybe I kept the lolcat friend…)
And that is how I discovered, a decade late, the value of Twitter.
Now I relish logging on at night to find links to trainings, blogs, and webinars about social media, marketing, and other topics I genuinely care about. I have learned tons and found great new information I would never have stumbled upon on my own.
Do you tweet? If so, how do you find Twitter to be valuable?