Twitter: Complete Waste Of Time, Or Valuable Marketing Tool?

Okay, so I'm probably the last person on the world wide web to join Twitter, but that's exactly what I did yesterday: I set up my Twitter account.

"Go, Lynn!" right? LOL πŸ˜› You'll find it at: http://twitter.com/lynnterry

I've heard quite a bit about Twitter, as I'm sure you have, but I havent seen a huge need to join in on the twittering. In fact, from what I could tell it appeared to be another one of those things that would eat up a lot of the free time I simply dont have. So why am I 'twittering' now? And what exactly is twitter?...

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service (e.g. on a cell phone), instant messaging, or a third-party application. source

Basically you set up an account and at any given time you answer the question "What Are You Doing" in 140 characters or less. To get a visual demonstration, see this video by Lee LeFever:

How do you Twitter?

Actually, I think its called "tweet", but I am still learning the twitter-language. If you need a quick run-down of the twitter terms yourself, see the Twitter Glossary so you dont look like a twit when you're supposed to be a tweeter πŸ˜‰ .

At any rate, I'm finding there are multiple ways to tweet and I am currently using two of them: on the web, by logging into twitter.com and via cell phone by sending a text message to twitter (which I just tested).

Its all very simple. Whether you are using your cell phone or mobile device, or sitting at your computer, you simply type in "what you are doing" at any given time... that's it.

Pointless?

Yes and No. Its yet another way to network, make friends and gain exposure online... but its more of a short-n-sweet social atmosphere than it is a marketing tool. That said, there is certainly some marketing potential. According to Chris Brogan its an easy way to double your blog traffic.

And Darren Rowse, Mr Problogger himself, obviously sees some potential in it as he just launched Pay-Per-Tweet.

That was of course launched on April Fool's Day πŸ˜‰

Seriously though, with millions of users already 'tweeting'... there must be something to it. And consider the number of phonecalls you get where someone asks What are you doing? or Hows it going? or Whatcha into?. Maybe people really do want to know what we are doing...

During the webinar yesterday, Rick called it permission-based stalking πŸ˜† .

But it begs the question, particularly when used for business networking or marketing: just how much do people want to know? Should you share the details of your entire day, minute for minute, or simply make ocassional updates about your business only?

I am going test Twitter throughout the month of April, and will let you know what I discover along the way. I will use the site as intended, giving daily updates about "what I am doing" with a mix of both personal and business updates. It seems like a great way to connect with like-minded people, and an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other on a more personal and fun level... while still sharing links and updates about your online business.

Are there Twitter Widgets?

Yes, yes and yes! One that has already been recommended to me is http://www.twhirl.org/ (thanks Katherine!) which is a desktop application that makes being a TWIT super easy (comes easy enough for some people!). Oops - again, I think its "tweeter" - not "twit" - but I get this image of Cowboy Tweeter in my head every time I say that πŸ˜† ... Please dont make me tell you that story πŸ˜›

For more cool twitter widgets, see: http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Apps

Twitter Tips and Tricks

Since I am a new Tweeter (haha, still laughing) I'll refer you to some of the top twitter tip sheets (say that real fast!) I found across the web:

If you tweet, be sure to include your Twitter URL below when you leave a comment. That way we can all stalk follow each other! πŸ˜‰

Happy Tweeting!

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»

Discussion

  1. Phil Tanny says:

    Ok Lynn, I'm on to your every move now! πŸ™‚

    I'm kinda just a little bit mad at you though. Dang, you haven't tweeted in the last few minutes! What's up with that?? I'm waiting, I'm waiting... πŸ™‚

    Ok, this must be one of those teaching old dogs new tricks things. I'll listen, and maybe learn, and who knows, maybe become a tweety bird.

    Thanks for the article.

  2. LOL I tweet heaviest in the morning hours usually πŸ˜‰ If you sign up be sure to follow me so I'll see you there and can follow you back. You'll love it!

  3. Phil Tanny says:

    I don't want to know what you being a heavy tweeter means Lynn, it's really none of my business. πŸ™‚

    Maybe Twitter arrives at a bad time for me.

    I find what interests me most now is user generated content that heads in the direction of old fashioned publishing. Editors, editing, moderation, standards, thoughtful article style posts with some meat on the bones.

    I think I've read one too many one line posts around the Net in recent years, and am in some stage of rebellion.

    I'd better get my Twitter set up so I can let you know immediately if I emerge from this phase.

    Thanks for the chat. This tweety zone is fun enough for me.

  4. It just means that's when I am on Twitter & talking the most. It has been a great tool for me to meet publishers and influencers in my industry, which has in turn resulted in some of that meaty content you're referring to. You just might get converted... like I did πŸ˜‰

  5. I am still stuck on whether Twitter is a huge waste of time or if it has marketing value. It only has value when your followers follow just a few people. But, so many people, now, are following thousands of people.

    REALLY?

    Can you keep up with what thousands of people are doing to the point that it makes any coherent sense?

    Here's the way I see Twitter. You have 4 basic kinds of people on Twitter: (1) Those that are using Twitter as a marketing tool and really don't care to listen to anyone else, (2) Those with a few friends but who so infrequently check their Twitter account that they are - for all purposes - Twitter worthless (3) Those with so many friends that their page changes every 5 seconds... e.g., worthless and (4) ... the very small minority who actually use the thing the way that Ev Williams wants it to be used.... the hype keeps this thing in business... and the thought of the potential that will never be achieved.

  6. Lynn, thanks... very thought provoking post you did. When I saw this article today on BusinessInsider.com, I was reminded of this discussion... pretty interesting stuff concerning how people are using Twitter:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-truth-about-how-people-use-twitter-2009-9

    The statistic that 75% hardly use it at all actually surprised me. I thought it would be higher.

  7. I am inclined to agree with both of you to be honest. I think that if you can build a community and make it a "quality" community over a quantity based community you will have success. The web over the last few years has gone from being a quantity game to more of a quality game. I have seen many clients and sites that I built way back when drop off because the community that they were built on was not selected well. So kudos to both you (Lynn), and Phil for your thoughts.

  8. Sally Sales Job says:

    Well now I have to be the last one to join this social media, and I have been doing a lot of reading on it and there are a lot of people that are now using Twitter in their businesses. So I guess there must be a good thing to all this Twittering:)

  9. Mark Johnson says:

    Twitter is a total waste of time. Let me prove it to you on my YouTube video "How Effective Is Twitter For Online Marketing" You can view the video here http://d8p.us/aLtnGHmk and you will be amazed and realise you too are wasting valuable marketing time.
    All the best
    Mark

  10. I guess at the end of the day we all need to look at how effective and suitable this tweetering mania is for our own business model. It can be great for building relationship though eventually we need to judge if it is the most effective use of our time business wise.

  11. mycleanpc says:

    I have just decided to experiment with twitter, there was a lot of talk about it at the recent WordCamp UK conference and so, being in the web trade, I thought I should get some first hand. I find it hard to believe that I would ever find it addictive. It seems to be an utter waste of server space, or am I missing something?

  12. The only marketing strategies I've seen with twitter are either with celebrities have a competition to see who can get the most amount of followers before a certain date or people simply using twitter as a way to link to their site.

  13. I set up my account last month. Didnt log in ever since. Dont know why. It's a pretty good way to reach out to people, nevertheless

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