Social Media: Is Twitter a Waste of Time?

Two things happened in the past twenty-four hours that got me thinking about this. First, a friend asked me, “Isn’t twitter just a bunch of people telling you the mundane details of what they’re doing?” Then I saw a survey asking the question, “Is social media for narcissists?” Of course, the people who had access to the poll were all social media insiders (I found the poll via Twitter!) so it’s not surprising that they voted overwhelmingly, “No.” In fact, the vote was unanimous. So now we know that social media insiders don’t believe they are narcissists. Good.

The two faces of Twitter

I read a study that said 40% of Twitter was ‘noise’ filled with things like “I’m on the bus now. I’ll soon be getting off the bus.” However, that leaves 60% of people using Twitter for other reasons. So what are those reasons?

Twitter Purpose One: Find interesting people and trendsetters in your industry

When you go to Twitter, you can choose who you wish to follow. You search for a topic that interests you and start to follow the people who have interesting and useful tweets. You can learn a lot of following experts in your field. If someone turns out to be a spammer or constantly offers useless information about their breakfast menu or their dog’s cute ways, you can simply “unfollow” them and they are off your radar screen.

Screenshot - Twitter Followers and Following

Screenshot of Follower Page

Twitter Purpose Two: Create your own following

Getting followers is often the reciprocal effect of following. If you’re lucky, the people you follow may follow you. If not, you can still follow them and look for more people to follow with the potential of being followed back.

Why do you want followers?

The idea is to develop a group of followers who read your tweets and share them around to their network of followers. From this, if you have posted things of value, you get traffic to your website or blog. It bears repeating, a recent survey of search engine experts reports that they believe blogging to be the second most important tool for getting traffic to your site. Twitter is a valuable tool for getting traffic to your blog.

Why if you get some questionable followers?

You can accept or reject “followers”. I admit to blocking all overtly religious or political “followers”. I use Twitter for business and do not want to associate with Twitter for other purposes. Of course, some people may want to follow certain political discussions. I also avoid mixing my business use of Twitter with the personal. I like to follow people whose tweets are are of consistent content and interest and I like to give them the same respect.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!

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