More than a Facebook status

I was at a meeting recently where someone asked the dozen attendees how many used Twitter. Only my friend and I raised our hands. The lady shared she was at a loss why people tweet. In her words, it’s no different to Facebook status updates, only less.

It made me think back a little over a year ago. Because at that time, I had similar thoughts. I’ve overcome that though, and would now consider myself an avid Tweeter.

The query though was a good prompt for me to think and clarify what I think it is that makes Twitter more than a Facebook status:

  • I love the potential of exchange beyond my primary network of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. Twitter is for the most part a completely open dialogue. This is a dialogue worth having, when there are so many interesting people from all over the world, and all walks of life. Some say Facebook is where you lie to your friends, Twitter is where you’re honest to strangers.
  • News is updated on Twitter before any other source (news of an earthquake allegedly spreads faster than the seismic event itself). By following Trending Topics, you can catch the latest buzz about events before traditional sources even pick them up. The pace of updates might be due to the initial 140 character limit. Fewer words give fewer opportunities to deliberate.
  • Due to its free form, amazingly simple interface, and 140 character limit, Twitter encourages a special amount of creativity to keep the communication going, and the craftiness of language to keep the message succinct.
  • Twitter has become a powerful direct channel for individuals and organisations to spread their message. If there are celebrities, experts, or companies interesting enough for you to follow them, Twitter allows you to follow them – so to speak. Celebrities especially are finding it a useful way to share info directly with their fans – without filter.
  • And I like the real-time feedback and collaboration that Twitter can enable during events through publishing a #(hash) tag. These tags when included in a tweet act as an anchor for anybody to add to the conversation.
  • Your Twitter feed is also like a water tap that you can switch on whenever you want to quench your thirst. There is no cup overfilling that you need to get through before it gets stagnant – like an unmanned email inbox.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all positive. I think for the most part, Twitter is filled with rubbish. Duue to this, I rarely recommend people to get online with it.

It can be an amazing resource if you do have the right temperament, and thirst for knowledge, and ability to find things that entertain you.