Twitter 101: Why Twitter isn’t TMI
Posted By Emily Warn on May 17, 2012Twitter is overwhelming. Twitter is noise. Twitter is the definition of TMI.
How many times have you heard people say that? I won’t argue with them. Twitter is all of the above if you don’t know how to join the conversation. And that’s all Twitter really is: a captivating discussion that at any given moment can be entertaining, informative, intimate, playful, impassioned, boisterous, or deadly serious.
Coffee Klatch & Stadium Crowd
Although Twitter can seem like one big hubbub, there are really two basic types of conversations going on:
- A gigantic one held in a public stadium where a crowd of people interact with celebrities, thought-leaders, or the issue of the day.
- A more intimate coffee klatch with people who share your interests
Each has its own rewards. Each needs a strategy to join in. But you only have to learn one set of tools to participate in each.
Talking in a Public Crowd
In a way, Twitter is the world’s largest water-cooler conversation– anyone can listen to it and chime in. The difference between the one at your office and on Twitter is that presidential hopefuls, CEO’s, rappers, best-selling authors, movie stars, and other celebrities are part of the conversation. When you add your two cents, Jay-Z might respond right back.
The discussion also serves as a ticker tape. For example a tweet can break news about an earthquake (a real one or a political one). And, then you and millions of others can follow the news as it develops or share your experience of an event as it unfolds.
Talking around a Kitchen Table
If you only follow celebrities or the latest hot issue, you’ll feel lonely in the crowd. Growing your own following can make Twitter feel more like a Friday coffee with friends. You’ll meet people who care about things that you do, whether that’s making fiber art or brewing beer or Jane Austen. You can also find colleagues in your profession who you can share information with about the latest conferences, books or ideas.
This type of conversation changes Twitter from an unmanageable stream of information into a place where you can keep up with what’s new and what old friends are doing or thinking. You’ll start wanting to tune in as opposed to tune out the latest tweet.
Tools of the Twitter Trade
Part of Twitter’s success is a set of simple tools that let you easily interact with others. In the next post in this series, we’ll show you the basics to get you tweeting and re-tweeting, messaging and round-tripping. Soon you’ll stop worrying about attracting followers and start having fun responding to them.