Maki thinks so. He's put together a great post sharing seventeen different uses he's found for Twitter. It's a good post for those of you who have looked at Twitter with (justifiable) skepticism and wondered what it had to offer you. Some of you will find your skepticism confirmed, but others will spot some practical application that makes a little experimenting with Twitter worthwhile. Thus far, I fall into the latter group.

Maki sums up the purpose of Twitter pretty succinctly:

Twitter gives you a fragmented experience of opinions, events, news, ideas and feedback largely because its 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. And this is usually the case.

He also points out one of the biggest downfalls of Twitter:

The issue here is that effective Twitter usage necessarily involves an investment in time and attention. One needs to be plugged in to a certain extent to reap the benefits that come from using Twitter. Even listening takes an effort.

While I remain skeptical of Twitter, I'm finding some value behind it. It's certainly not for everyone and I don't believe it's going to revolutionize the world, but it does have it's purposes. Whether it will remain part of my daily activities when I'm done giving it a trial run remains to be seen, but for now I am finding many of the points Maki makes to hold true.

I've found a few of Maki's seventeen points have held true in my own usage of Twitter. Some of my favorites include:

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.

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.

If you're just checking out Twitter, you can follow Dosh Dosh or follow me and join the conversation.

January 16, 2008

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


I see you're closing in on 100 followers/following! One thing I have noticed about Twitter is that if I am on and engaged in 1 or more conversations at the same time, I am almost guaranteed to get traffic referrals to my blog (which is linked to at my Twitter profile page), and I almost always add followers. So there's at least some justification to the time-sink that is Twitter ;)

Thanks for the mention, Jennifer! I just followed you on Twitter. :)

Nicely thought out article with some great information for Twitter users. Soon I think Twitter will become even more useful when they upgrade their own search. When they do this Tweets will be ranked by the users reputation throughout the site. They will also be indexing the pages that are linked from any tweet. This will make their search engine even more useful and create what would be close to a real time search engine.

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