I never really thought that Twitter would catch on. I mean, who knew what #FF meant and RT, and did I really care what Ashton Kutcher ate for lunch? But then when the New York Times launched a twitter feed, (and I found it) I saw I could read all the headlines so quickly. And then, some of my favorite reporters were posting, people I needed to read. And then…I asked a gal in my office for help.
I was working at Virilion, a digital agency with a wide range of clients, and I sat myself down in this young woman’s cube.
I told her I realized that Twitter was the thing among her age group (everyone under 43) and if I was going to do my job well, I needed to understand what “it” was. She was so kind, and so sweet and she did this very basic Twitter 101 for me. And it was great. And I slowly learned that it was like any other “social” media, just more abbreviated. The trick, she said, was to post on what you like, what you find interesting, and what might be of value to others. Don’t just post about yourself, don’t use the word “I” to often, and don’t just blast, but ask.
So here we are, about 18 months later and today I read Catherine Taylor of Media Post. She reported that according to Nielsen, “Americans are using social networks 43% more than they did only a year ago, spending 22.7% of monthly time online time on social nets. Social networking is now the No. 1 online activity.”
While this also means more are on YouTube and other video sharing services, that’s still a lot. Meanwhile, activity on web portals such as IGoogle, MSN and others has dropped by 19%, to only 4.4% of time spent.
So it seems I am not alone.
But I think the best part about Twitter, aside from the fact that you get the direct feeds from Politico and the Times, is that there are some really SMART people posting, and linking to great articles. There are science writers from Wired, there’s Fred Barnes from Slate, there’s Kara Swisher of Wall Street Journal and more and more. And what’s really cool, is they say interesting things aside from what they write in their articles. It’s like having an IV drip of great info to smart, thoughtful people.
So today, I find myself really loving Twitter. And 117 people are loving me back.