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Twitter is not just a toy – it’s a tool – 5 ways to USE it

So I continue to just be amazed with the increasing value of Twitter for me as a person. Twitter is helping me be less verbose, although you can’t tell from my posts and it continues to expose me to new folks, ideas and online resources I would have never known about without Twitter. That being said, the Big Bang of the Twitterverse continues to expand the population at an amazing rate, it is increasingly becoming a the platform of choice for communication for many folks.

Twitter-centric content is everywhere! I am easily able to find posts on Twitter which are rewarding and provide for a better understanding of the value of the platform, but there are increasing number of ideas around effective Twitter management which is an interesting twist. The growing number of how to better manage the stream recommendations are not only interesting, but confirmation that the community is evolving. Perhaps the most honest piece on managing the stream I have read is Dopp’s. (If you haven’t read the Juice you should, the content is amazingly honest and insightful – not the kinda stuff you will find here.) Tips, tricks and how to’s are becoming a staple when it comes to Twitter references online.

With the changing landscape on Twitter there is a growing amount of content espousing the good, the bad and the indifferent on the benefits of the platform. The worst post I have seen so far has to be How to Increase your Twitter following by 438% in 30 Days.

Despite the Twitter land grab underway, the utility of Twitter is still non-trivial. With the recent increase in reliability and the platform stabilization of late, which is much needed with the increasing visibility; there is a growing need to understand the use of the platform by new folks. The community does self-monitor and reject poor form, but it will take some time for users to push back against the over crowding, so anything that help improve the usage hopefully is a good thing. So how can you use twitter as a tool for more effective communication? Below are 5 areas for consideration to improve your Twitter experience:

  • Listen and Participate: People are on Twitter to connect. No, really… use twitter to express and share. If someone in your group asks a question and you have input, respond – that’s sorta why they asked. You may want to listen for a while until you participate, your call.
  • Use it for a Place to Get Ideas: The people in your stream will amaze you with their creativity and insight in <140 characters. Actively use the information and the links shared to understand more about what interest you and your followers. You just might find a topic or two which you can share with others or even blog about.
  • Meet New People and Develop Relationships: You will find people on Twitter who will expand your network and your understanding of a topic or a region – it will also expand others views of you and your region.
  • A Place to Find Stuff: This could be content you are looking for or other stuff, such as restaurants or other things to do. I’ve been reminded I need to go see a movie and how much fun an afternoon at a museum can be.
  • People Watch: Sometimes passive is good. More than likely there will be many folks in your network that you won’t engage, but just watch. That’s ok, just because I don’t play with some of my kid’s toys, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching them play with them.

Need to understand a little more about twitter? Here’s a brief little video for you:

Have fun with your new shiny toy and find a way to make it useful and productive for your and your friends.