I keep hearing how great Twitter is, but I just don't `get` it. It just seems to be trolls, or people talking about their lunch or celebrities. What is the point?
A Playground DadThat's a good question - and one I get asked a lot - what *is* the point of twitter? I don't mean for businesses or brands, but for regular people. Why do we bother, why do I love twitter so much? It's something I don't think the big bods over at Twitter articulate particularly well. Or even show us that well. (this article agrees with me). It's a bit of a catch-22, the more you use Twitter, the more I think you `get` it. It's definitely not like Facebook, or even - as much touted - like a mini blogging site. I think it's much more communal and sociable than that.
I guess Twitter is like going to a massive party with lots of different groups of people listening to lots of different music and doing lots of different things - some good and some bad. Just like at a party, the noise and chatter can be deafening and overwhelming, but once you've (figuratively) walked the room a couple times, got a drink at the bar and spotted some people you know, you start to relax and have a good time. A few hours later you end up making loads of new friends, dancing on the speakers with no idea where the people you came with went. Well Twitter's kinda like that....
I can't speak for all of Twitter's 255 million monthly active users, but here's why I love Twitter and why I use it:
1) Social Side
Tweets tonight so funny, I feared for my pelvic floor. I love watching tv with 1,25million other people #eurovisionThe best thing about twitter is the way you can talk to anyone in the world about a single topic of conversation. Obviously this is both good and bad, but the concept of the hashtag is genius. Last night's Eurovision showcased this. For over 2 hours I tweeted about what was on my screen and exchanged banter and jokes with people all over Europe on the same thing. And it was brilliant. Twitter is like Channel 4's Gogglebox on a large, virtual scale. But seriously, from Eurovision to politics to parenting, it's great to be part of wider discussions and debates - and sometimes you can make a real difference as a result!
— Becky (@stupidgirl45) May 10, 2014
This one's pretty obvious really, but quite often now, news stories break on social media - and Twitter in particular - before the big established channels pick them up. Finger, meet pulse. You need to use common sense when checking out what's going on but I like knowing what's happening fast - and then heading to the regular news channels to get their take on it. And nothing beats live tweets from what's happening right there on the ground.
I mainly tweet through @stupidgirl45 - and I guess it's not the most formal, professional feed in the world. But when I leave work, I don't just shut off my brain, my interests in social media, tech, recruitment continue outside of that - and I want to read about it on my own time (often at 3am when I'm feeding Baby45...) I like following interesting people who tweet about topics relevant to me because you never know when you might have an opportunity to collaborate. And if someone objects to my terrible taste in music and love of the word beavering, I'd rather know sooner rather than later....
4) The Blogs
I'm up in the night a lot. And feeding during the day. So I get bored and need stuff to read that's quick and easy to find. I can't be fussed with adding stuff to blog readers - especially since Google fucked around with my blogger settings and erased my entire list. I know there's fancy-shmancy sites to cultivate a magazine just for me. But I'll stick with Twitter thanks. I use the lists facility to group people - my obviously named "favourite bloggers" - and then I have a nice simple stream of tweets with links to read when I want them. I like that I can really easily reply to them, to share the links and follow them to see more. I've yet to find another platform that works this well for me.
5) The Banter
I'm really disappointed with the lack of bad death metal so far this #eurovisionI love the structure of twitter, the 140 character limit, the timeframe you have in which to tap into what's going on. I like the way you can think of clever, witty, speedy ways of saying things - and second guessing what other people are thinking and feeling too. Like my tweet above. I loved it when Lordi won Eurovision, they were fab! And every year there's usually at least one hilarious death metal band on to liven up proceedings. But no, this year we had to make do with Polish cleaning/butter churning porn. I figured I wasn't the only person missing the metal - and judging by the RT's and favourites of my tweet, I definitely wasn't! There's some really smart, speedy typers on Twitter and it's a lot of fun to see what pictures and words they're going to come up with next!
— Becky (@stupidgirl45) May 10, 2014
So that's it really for me - if you use Twitter, why do you love it? Why do you use it? If you don't like it - why not? What really bothers you about it. You can comment below or ...er, tweet me ;) Also, if you're new to Twitter, you might like this little top tips post.
Thank you and goodnight,
Stupidgirl has left the building
PS This is part of a new series of posts in which I answer questions I frequently get asked about social media and blogging. If you've got a question feel free to comment below or get in touch or tweet your question followed by #askstupid45