Why Twitter Matters

The Social Networking tool Twitter has become a mainstay in my daily routine. In my line of work (nonprofit consulting) it’s important for me to stay up on industry news, trends, technology and people. Twitter helps me do this. It’s also important for me to connect with peers in the industry that can challenge my thinking and provide a sounding board to bounce off ideas. Twitter gives me access to these people. I’ll admit, it took me a while to “get it”, but once I made a decision to figure out the tool and the space it all started to make sense.

I should also mention that a large part of my learning came from watching the ways others were engaging and using the tool. Seeing real life examples in action helped me see how I could use Twitter and find value in Twitterville.

The Broganator (aka Chris Brogan) recently wrote about how he manages Twitter so I thought I’d share a little about how I manage Twitter and why I think it’s important.

Here’s a glimpse …

The Tools

There are hundreds of useful Twitter tools out there. The trick is finding the ones that make sense for you. These work well for me.

CoTweet – It’s a web application! I like this tool for the basic CRM type features it has. You can schedule tweets, add notes to Twitter followers and assign your self a task to do something. Nice! I use this tool on a daily basis to stay plugged in to Twitterville.

Ubertwitter – Hands down the best app for Blackberry users (we can’t all have an iPhone). I can easily keep up on the go with this app.

Twitpic – Everyone loves pics! This app let’s you easily share photos on Twitter. I mostly share pics when I’m out and about. The added benefit of this tool is that it integrates with Ubertwitter on the Blackberry. Very nice.

Bit.ly – Lets me shorten URL’s for easy sharing on Twitter and provides nice click stats with graphs! It also integrates with CoTweet. Love that.

Twitter Search – Great for finding valuable information and/or connecting with people on Twitter. There are too many uses to cover here. Check out Three Twitter Searches You Didn’t Think Were Possible and 7 ‘Secret’ Ways To Use Twitter Search for some ideas on how to get started.

The Value

The key to any application or tool is to find the value in it for you. At first I didn’t see any real use for Twitter. To me, it seemed silly. I shared the same thought most people had when they began using Twitter – Why would anyone what to hear “what I was doing” every minute of my day? Here’s what I’ve figured out.

1) Learning

As I stated at the beginning of this post – there are a LOT of great people using Twitter. It’s not just a bunch of kids playing around or spammers trying to take advantage of you. It’s not even a place where people waste away their day to pass the time at work. These things happen of course, but if you look you can find so much more. I did.

These people have been good to me and they’re just a few of those that I’ve learned from during my time on Twitter. I’ve learned more about each of the above industries. A lot more! I’ve also learned how to find the information I need and who the trusted sources are.

Find the right people and you’ll begin to learn as well. Check out http://wefollow.com/ and http://www.twellow.com/ to get started.

2) Sharing

Sharing is one of the main reasons why Twitter is successful (in my opinion). The tool allows people to easily connect and share information. It’s simple to do. You add links in your Tweets to things you find interesting or things you’re using in which you find value. The people following you can then check out what you’re sharing. The flip side is also true. I can share things with those following me. If you’re following the right types of people this becomes a huge human information filter. Powerful.

The added benefit for me as a new blogger has been the ability to share what I’m posting on my blog with people. The community on Twitter has helped me figure some things out quickly. I’m grateful for that.

3) Connecting

Twitter has been the conduit for connecting with the people I mentioned above as well as many others. I know there are lots of other places that this type of relationship building can happen. I also know there is no substitution for in person meeting. But the simple fact that I could easily connect with all of these people is incredible. It’s about the simplicity and the reach. Twitter helped me meet a lot of great people that help me be better at what I do. It’s as simple as that.

Food for thought: Twitter from the pros

These are my top three reasons for using Twitter and the tools I use to manage things daily. There are tons of other reasons to utilize Twitter and hundreds of other tools out there to help you do it.

What have you found valuable in Twitter? How do you manage Twitter on a daily basis? Share some of your tips with us.