I had a conversation (well, through instant messaging) with a friend about Twitter. He has an account but never uses it because he doesn’t understand the point of it. I have two Twitter accounts (one for work and one for personal use) and I actually agreed with him.
I never wanted to get a Twitter account, ever. I thought it was just pointless to have numerous tweets and updates about things that really don’t matter. But because I am in the media field, a lot of breaking news and quick updates are on Twitter first before they hit any online site.
For me, I couldn’t afford to be behind everyone else in feeding information to people. So in June of 2009, I finally caved in an got a Twitter account for work. Now I’m reaching 10,000 tweets and there’s no stopping me.
I’ve been on both sides of the Twitter argument and I understand the pros and cons of it. Here are my Top 5 reasons why you should or shouldn’t use Twitter.
Top 5 reasons why Twitter could be right for you
- Information gathering: One of the reasons why I got Twitter for work was because all the breaking news stories were on Twitter first before they were on TV, online sites or radio. In my field of sports, updates on firings, trades and other transactions are huge and being on top of it is very important to me. I think this is the main reason why I signed up. Being able to receive news and send out news as quickly as possible is very key to my work.
- Everything/everyone you care about is in one place: On Twitter, you can follow certain people, companies, news sites and pretty much all other things in one place. Yes, it’s like Facebook where you can be a fan of something and it appears on your feed. But at least with Twitter, it’s more organized. You can follow your favorite celebs talk about the most random things (and possibly have them answer one of your questions). You can get the latest update on coupon deals from your favorite store. Instead of visiting your top five favorites news sites, just go to Twitter and just read what they tweeted. It saves time.
- It’s short: The 140-character limit is actually one attractive thing. It keeps updates short and simple. Twitter is marketing itself as a simple site and with such short updates, that’s exactly what a lot of tweets are. Your tweets are meant to be little updates here and there, not long complicated status updates like Facebook. There’s a little bit more freedom in being random on Twitter than it is on Facebook.
- Twitter-exclusive deals/contests: On Thursday, I won an autographed photo card from Maurice Jones-Drew from a Twitter-only contest. The contest was only for Twitter followers of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, I have won three exclusive contests on Twitter since I have signed up. So if you like winning contests, Twitter is a cool thing to sign up for because many companies are using Twitter to promote themselves.
- New wave of social networking: Did you know that employers are doing background checks on Twitter too? Some companies like it when applicants are involved in social networking. So just having a Facebook might not be enough. Twitter is the new wave of social networking and with the times, changes have to be made. There’s a benefit in having a Twitter. You probably don’t have to tweet every day. But having one can be beneficial down the line. Plus, there are some people that post job updates on Twitter too. Makes my job hunting a little bit easier.
Top 5 reasons why Twitter might not be right for you
- Too much information: Maybe you don’t like having a lot of information around. Maybe Facebook is just enough for you. If you’re not into gathering information from outside sources that aren’t your friends, then Twitter isn’t a real fit for you. The real purpose of Twitter is to essentially go send and receive information. If you’re not into that (or trying to communicate to celebrities), then obviously Twitter isn’t a good fit.
- Small status updates aren’t interesting: There can be some tweets in which people announce what they had for lunch. Not very interesting. If you’re not into knowing the little things that don’t matter, then Twitter isn’t right for you. Sometimes, it can be a pain. Some celebrities on Twitter are very incomprehensible and it’s a shame. Longer updates could be more effective, but 140 character is the limit.
- Clutter: Well, much like Facebook, all the updates can get cluttered. Sure, you can make lists and weed out certain updates. But ultimately, it’s just a load of information all in one place. It’s not very organized and with all the stupid #hashtags, you really have no way to keep track of anything.
- Communication is hard: Communicating through Twitter is not the same as instant messaging, e-mail or through Facebook. You’re still limited to 140 characters and it’s really inefficient. Obviously, the site’s goal isn’t made to allow people to communicate. It’s really just a place to gather information without actually being able to have solid discussions on it.
- It’s all public: Unless you block your tweets, all your tweets are public. Anyone and everyone can read what you tweet and there is no way to track it. Don’t put out private information when you’re on Twitter. Even if you do a Google search of any trending topic, Twitter updates come up in the search. It’s a lot of public accessibility by anyone on your personal life.
So which side of the argument am I on? Honestly, I am for both sides. I like gathering information and getting track on top of certain things that matter to me. However, I can really do without Twitter as well. It’s a lot of information and most of the time, I don’t really read 75% of the updates on my feed.
So what side are you on? Are you for or against Twitter? Or are you indifferent just like me?
** If you are on Twitter, you can follow me. This is my handle.