Update 2014: In July 2014 I closed my Twitter account and stopped using the service. See my post on quitting social media for details.
Today I set up a Twitter account. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it’s a free online service where people can post very brief updates (up to 140 characters), and other people who are interested can follow and comment on those updates. Think of it like micro-blogging.
I heard about Twitter a long time ago and quickly dismissed it as a waste of time. But lately I’ve heard good things about it from other bloggers, so I decided to dive in and give it a go this week. Best case is that it provides some extra value for people. Worst case is that it truly is a waste of time, and I simply stop using it. Limited downside + potentially unlimited upside = worth trying.
What tipped me into finally setting up a Twitter account was the article 9 Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers by Darren Rowse of Problogger. Darren makes the case that bloggers can leverage their existing blogs to use Twitter in many beneficial ways. Makes sense to me.
Apparently Twitter was intended to be a service for people to share quick updates about their lives with friends and family (and anyone else who cares). For example, you could use it to tell people what movies you’re watching, what books you’re reading, or what recipes you’re trying. I may share some details like that because I do get a lot of questions from readers who want to know how I spend my time, but overall I think this would be a boring way for me to use Twitter if that’s all I did.
Perhaps a better approach would be to use Twitter to share links and short bits of info that I wouldn’t normally blog about but which readers may still find valuable. For example, I usually avoid blogging about time-sensitive info or interesting links because I don’t want to clutter my blog’s archives, but this kind of info would fit nicely into a Twitter update. There’s a ton of info that crosses my desk that I’d never blog about but which would be suitable for Twittering.
For now I’ll play it by ear, experimenting with different updates to see what people like best. If you have a strong opinion regarding what you’d like to see, please let me know.
The nice thing is that posting Twitter updates is dirt simple. I can submit a new update in less than a minute… as opposed to setting aside a few hours for a typical blog post.