In case you have been living under a rock, Twitter has proliferated our culture and become a common term. But what is it really? Twitter is a micro blogging platform which allows you to publish short messages of less than 140 characters through different mediums like IM, cell phones and the web.

It has a social element as well, as it allows users to befriend and monitor each other’s messages or updates. So what you have here is a publishing tool that can be public and private.

Twitter gives you a summarized snapshot of opinions, events, news, ideas and feedback largely because it is structured to accommodate non-contextual usability: You can easily follow thousands of users and listen in and enter into conversations conducted among multiple users at any point.

On the other hand, Twitter can be actively used as a tool to push out messages that capitalize on the attention you’re receiving from other users. I’m talking about self-promotion and marketing. This involves active user engagement. Twitter allows you to monitor how influencers think or feel, The user can also get into their attention zone via active networking. So from this aspect it can have some advantages.

Apart from its use as a info resource and publicity tool, Twitter is also a communication platform for individuals and their personal social networks.

My biggest gripe is that much of the content is uninformative and more personal than I really care to know. “Who cares? Who wants this level of detail? Isn’t this all just annoying nonsense?… Amidst the noise, there are some gems of information that shine through and can be of great value. Is it worth using Twitter if the good stuff is so rare? I don’t really think so. In my opinion there is much more value in Facebook and Blogs than in Tweeeting. There are a lot of us, though, who find great value in this ongoing noise. It helps us get to know people who would otherwise be just acquaintances.

Twitter is not a difficult tool to use so there’s a low barrier of entry; Anyone can pick it up. What really matters is how it impacts your online habits and daily life. For many, Twitter is a distraction, albeit one that is very much welcome.

I am reposting the following Twitter advice excerpts because herein lies some of the value of Twitter, not in the common everyday usage just to let you know when I am brushing my teeth and going to bed:

17 Ways to Use Twitter: My Experiences So Far

I’ve signed up for a Twitter account a long time ago and used it sporadically because it never really did appeal to me. Last week I decided to give it another chance and installed Snitter, a desktop application for Twitter.

I started using it actively and gradually developed an avid interest. I think Twitter is a manageable process that can be adopted for all types of lifestyles, busy or inactive. You’ll just need to integrate it within your normal workflow. It’s addictive but once you understand how to use it, it’ll be a very effective tool indeed.

Having read a great deal of other articles on Twitter, I decided a do a quick summary of all the ways you can use Twitter for both your professional or personal life. Some of these methods go beyond the use of Twitter as a lifestreaming device:

  1. Personal Branding. Twitter is a social media platform you can use to build your personal brand. It has the primary benefit of developing a casual persona and establishes you as a social personality that is connected and approachable. As Twitter adoption increases, new users will be drawn towards well established Twitter personas.
  2. Get Feedback. Need an alternative perspective on how a website looks or the right course of action to take? Blast out a message asking for advice and you’ll receive replies from other users. This collective intelligence can be used as fodder for articles or projects.
  3. Hire People. Need a good logo designer, marketer or programmer? Send out a message asking for recommendations. This is a very quick and easy way to hire freelancers or even companies based on familiar recommendations.
  4. Direct traffic. Twitter can be used to get traffic to your websites or the sites of friends. If you ask your friends to tweet about it, the message will spread faster and further as other active users pick it up. There is a viral nature to all types of news, even on a site like Twitter.
  5. Read News. Twitter users often link to useful sites or articles and can be a source of scoops and alternative news. You can also subscribe to Twitter feeds for specific websites/conferences, which allows you to receive and view content quickly. This is very useful for active social news participants.
  6. Make New Friends. Like any other social network, Twitter has a built-in function for you to befriend and track the messages of other users. This is an easy way for you connect with people outside of your usual circle. Make an effort to add active users you find interesting. A Twitter acquaintance can be developed into a long lasting friendship.
  7. Network for benefits. Twitter can be used as a socializing platform for you to interact with other like-minded people, especially those in the same industry. It can be used to establish consistent and deeper relationships for future benefits such as testimonials or peer recommendations.
  8. Use it as a ToDo list. Use Twitter to record down what you need to do while you are away from the computer. Mark the tweet as a favorite to file it for referencing. Another alternative is to use an Online task management service that is synced with Twitter.
  9. Business Management. Twitter can be used as a company intranet that connects employees to one another. Workers can liaise with each other when working on group projects. Particularly useful when certain workers go out often in the field. Updates could be set to private for security reasons.
  10. Notify Your Customers. Set up a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new products come in. Customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS for instant notification. Twitter can also be used to provide mini-updates for one-on-one clients.
  11. Take Notes. Twitter provides you with an easy way to record important ideas or concepts you want to explore further. Include links relevant to ideas you want to explore. Note taking can also be done offline via mobile applications.
  12. Event Updates. Businesses can use Twitter as a means to inform event participants and latest event happenings/changes. This is a hassle-free way of disseminating information, especially when you don’t have the means to set up a direct mobile link between you and the audience
  13. Find Prospects. Twitter can be used as a means to find potential customers or clients online. Do a search for keywords related to your product on Twitter Search and then follow users. Tweet about topics parallel to your product and close prospects away from public channels by using direct messages or offline communications. Discretion and skill is needed in this area.
  14. Provide Live coverage. Twitter’s message size limit prevents detailed coverage of events but it can allow you to provide real-time commentary which may help to spark further discussion or interest on the event as other Twitter users spread the message. Very useful for citizen journalism.
  15. Time Management and Analysis. Twitter can simply be used to keep a detailed record of what you are doing every daily. This might be boring for others but this type of usage is useful when you want to analyze how you spend and manage your time.
  16. Set Up Meetings. Twitter can help you organize impromptu meetups. For example, you can twitter a message while at a cafe, event or art gallery and arrange to meet fellow users at a specific spot. It’s an informal and casual way of arranging a meeting.
  17. Acquire Votes. Send a link to your stories you’ve submitted in other social news sites like Digg. Sometimes your followers will vote up the stories because they agree with it. This allows you to acquire more support for your efforts on other social media websites.                                                               reposted from www.doshdosh.com
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