The hashtag #earthquake trended in South Africa after residents in Cape Town felt tremors from an earthquake south of the continent. Many experienced a…
We’ve all met the type. They use the Web all the time but they shun Twitter. They’re willing to try new sites and applications, but each time the topic of Twitter comes up, they make a little clicking sound or make a snarky comment. Something like: “I don’t need to know what kind of sandwich everybody had for lunch today.”
The Twitter faithful know better. For all the random junk on Twitter, and the obnoxious downtime, the application’s utility far outweighs its drawbacks. So here’s a guide to showing your friends and colleagues the light. And if they still don’t get it, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
Point 1: Your next big break in life may be just a Tweet away.
By investing a little time each day maintaining contacts on Twitter, avid tweeters position themselves a) to know about new opportunities that haven’t appeared anywhere else yet and b) to seize them.
Executives and hiring managers post job opportunities all the time on Twitter. Why wouldn’t you want to know about these before anybody else? By strategically following the right accounts, even an occasional Twitter user will be ahead of many of their peers when it comes to bigger and better things.
Point 2: Twitter still beats everybody else at breaking news.
Not everybody cares to know the latest and greatest about what’s happening in the world. But anyone who does should get their news from Twitter first. The precedent was set last June during the mass uprising in Iran, when tweeters on the ground like @persiankiwi described what he saw in graphic detail.
More recent events like the Gulf of Mexico #oilspill or the flooding in #Pakistan confirm that most news now breaks on Twitter. The media then scrambles to verify and explain what was first posted in 140 characters or less.
Point 3: Twitter is one of the world’s best icebreakers.
Spend five minutes with a person’s Twitter account, and you’ll have five great questions for them. This can make the difference between a stiff, awkward meeting with a new contact and a brisk, lively conversation. Everyone likes to talk about common interests, and Twitter will show you what those are before you even walk in the door.
Also, these days Twitter displays a list of all the accounts you and another account both follow. In other words, you can find out who you and a new contact both think are smart and/or interesting.
A word of caution: there is a fine line between doing your homework and digital stalking. It’s certainly not a good idea to ask something like “So how’s [your wife] Lisa?” to someone you’re just meeting. Keep it casual, but a few tidbits of information can make all the difference.
Point 4: Even the most jaded person can find something fun to do on Twitter.
Want to know what people are listening to in Cape Town? Just use Twitter’s advanced search feature to get a real-time sense of what’s going on. You can even create an RSS feed to check on your search whenever you want to. Or just figure out who’s cool and follow them.
It’s incredibly common for users to post pictures from great vacations (or warnings about places to stay away from), so regular Twitter users are consistently well-informed about leisure too. One more thing: these days all kinds of businesses post coupons and sales on their Twitter accounts. Have fun and do it cheaply!
Point 5: Everybody’s doing it.
As rapid as Twitter’s growth has been in the United States, it’s growing by leaps and bounds in other parts of the world too. Both Japan and the UK have demonstrated a huge appetite for Twitter, as has India.
Although there are upstarts trying to compete with the micro-blogging service, nobody else even comes close. It’s a safe bet, then, to invest time building a Twitter account– it’s highly likely that the service will still be dominant several years down the road.
And Point 6, dear reader, is reserved for you, the evangelist. By turning your friends and colleagues on to Twitter, you’re doing yourself a service. These people will become part of your Twitter network, opening you to greater benefits from a service you already use. But you already knew that.