I had a friend ask me, “What are the benefits of having Twitter?”
When I first joined Twitter in 2007, I had the idea that it was going to be like MySpace, and all my friends were going to be on it, and we were going to the promised land of the ideal “social network” where everyone was connected and no one would miss any parties and life was grand.
That didn't happen.
What did happen is I gave up on social media in the great “Quit Facebook Day” purge of 2010. Within a month or two, I didn't miss Facebook, but I really missed Twitter. Turns out, it actually held value to me, so I reinstated it.
Every user has their own reasons, but here are the benefits I get from having Twitter.
One thing I really missed was the ability to shout ridiculousness into the wind. Sometimes I think of something that I think of as funny, and I want the universe to know. Twitter is fantastic for allowing to you say what you want to say without caring what anyone else thinks. And then sometimes, just sometimes, people understand you and appreciate the moment for what it is. Or not. Remember, I don't have to care, and that's awesome.
I'm listening to the Presidents of the United States of America (@therealpusa), and I suddenly want to be naked and famous.— Dan Gayle (@dangayle) October 9, 2013
Twitter is the funniest place to be, if you follow the right profiles. There are so many fake celebrities and other jokey personalities on Twitter that you'll always be able to find someone to tickle your funny bone, no matter how dry/goofy/perverse your sense of humor is.
No, President Obama, that's where you're wrong. There is no such thing as 'American English'. There is English. And there are mistakes.— Elizabeth Windsor (@Queen_UK) September 2, 2013
Some people like to follow all of the so-called “thought leaders” in their space, who if followed blindly will turn you too into an expert. I tried this, and I wanted to jump off of a building. The thing is, not everyone who is good at their work is interesting. Not everyone who is interesting is relevant. Not everyone who is relevant has a Twitter account.
The trick it to find the sources of good, interesting, relevant news and information about the stuff you care about.
There's just so much fascinating and interesting stuff out there, I could spend all day long just discovering new Twitter accounts to follow. One of my favorites are the Twitter accounts that post interesting photos. Others post recipes, haikus, or random thought provoking gibberish.
Keven Carter's photo of a child and a vulture in Sudan during the 1994 famine pic.twitter.com/zhJmg1Bx2d— Powerful Pictures (@Powerful_Pics) August 29, 2013
If you're new to Twitter, it takes some time to find your thing. The only absolute truth is that Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. That means un-following all of those stupid celebrities that you get stuck with when you sign up. It means curating your following list with an iron fist.
No matter how cool someone is, if they post too much or they're obnoxious or simply boring, don't feel any obligation to follow them. Even your friends. If you hate Twitter, you hate the people you're following, so find new people to follow
What are you interested in? Find whoever writes about that. Follow them. How about your favorite band? Your favorite author, your favorite television personality, your favorite fictional character? Wherever your interests lie, there's probably a good Twitter feed that covers it.
Hope that helps?