I passed the magic 3 years on twitter 6 weeks ago and had planned to blog about it then. Work interfered and I had to delay it until today. Having turned from someone who preferred Jaiku over Twitter to a complete twitter-addict has taken a while but Twitter has now become an integral part of my daily life.The stats speak for themself; I first set up a Twitter account over 3 years ago, have 3225 followers and passed the 50,000 tweets some time ago. This makes me one of the most active tweeters in Ireland. Not that numbers say anything but it serves as an indication.
So what have I learned from using Twitter and how has it benefitted me?
- It has greatly enhanced and improved my social life. I have gotten to know people that I would otherwise would have never been in contact with and have actually gone and met quite a few of them socially and professionally.
- While I started using Twitter as a business tool it has now become a professional as well as social medium.
- Numbers mean very little. A lot of my tweets are “disposable”, off-the-cuff remarks with no relevance whatsoever.
- Twitter is very much like real life (but real life is not twitter!). There’s good people, bad people, excellent people and real *ssholes. Deal with it. If you do not like a comment or tweet, defend yourself. If it’s just too stupid just ignore it. If people complain about your tweets point them to the unfollow button.
- At the same time Twitter is *not* real life or a replacement of such. While Twitter has over 75 million registered accounts (many of which are not active) there are still 6,622,254,041 people on this planet not using Twitter
- Leading a very public life on Twitter can have some very nasty results. There will always be bad minded people who will cherry pick certain tweets and mis-quote them to suit their own agenda. Be aware of this. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.
- Twitter pares down the “six degrees of separation” right down to one. If used right it will enable you to get into contact with people or organisations some of which you would have never been able to have a one-on-one with. I’ve had DM chats with celebrities from the comfort of my couch. I’ve been able to get advise or assistance from people in position that would have been much harder, if not impossible, to directly contact without twitter.
- I have also been surprised and impressed by the numerous great ways in which people apply Twitter and the network it creates. Have a look at #HaitiTech and HumanityRoad for two great examples.
- It has greatly added to my TV viewing enjoyment. I do not think that this was what the proponent of “Interactive Television” had in mind but watching TV programmes while discussing the content in real time with tens, hundreds if not thousands of people on Twitter makes it all much more engaging and enjoyable. This goes for current affairs programmes as well as series.
- The Twitter “audience” can also be very fickle. Don’t expect that just because something gets retweeted or mentioned a lot on Twitter that it will have an impact in real life. The “retweet” button is very easy to use and the twitter attention span is generally only 140 characters long.
- DON’T EVER, EVER LOOK AT THE PUBLIC TWITTER STREAM!! It will make you go blind instantly.
- Twitter will bring you news well ahead of the mainstream news channels. However that doesn’t mean it’s true.
- Twitter is addictive.
- Lastly the data generated by Twitter makes for very pretty completely useless statistics: