Today’s reasons why Twitter is not a waste of time

by Susan Getgood on June 1, 2009

in Twitter

During my social media 101 workshops, I segue into the topic of Twitter by asking the class how many of them have heard of Twitter. If enough of them have, my next question is: how many of you think it is a total waste of time?

When most of them raise their hands, I tell them that they are not alone. Almost everyone who has been using Twitter for a while had a “what possible use are these 140-character messages” moment early on. I’ve been a Twitter user since March 2007 and you can read my early posts on Marketing Roadmaps here, here and here.

Over time, though, I have come to appreciate Twitter for many reasons. Connecting immediately with friends without the latency of email. Getting a quick answer to a question that might have taken some time to research, even with Google. Discovering new people — the friends of friends, though that doesn’t work quite the way it used to (see #fixreplies). Getting a heads up on news stories. Finding the interesting blog posts and more obscure news items that I might catch in my feed reader, if I were keeping up…

What I do not do is worry about what’s happening online when I am not “there.”  I figure if it’s interesting enough, topical enough, funny enough or even stupid enough, it’ll come around again. Just like the chorus of Alice’s Restaurant.

Gratuitous Arlo Guthrie Clip. Just Because.

So, back to today’s point – two reasons I was glad for Twitter today.

1. @AmandaGBeals retweeted Richard Laermer’s (@laermer) link to a post about a HARO (Help A Reporter Out) copycat. A friend had alerted me to the copycat site a few weeks ago, but I didn’t realize, until Richard’s tweet and post, that the copycat was targeting @skydiver (the founder of HARO Peter Shankman) followers on Twitter. Yuck. I read the Bad Pitch Blog, where the post appeared, but as I noted above, I am WAY behind on reading. Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have seen this great post today.

2. @bnmeeks (Brock Meeks) tweeted about the first case of “cybersquatting” to make it to a lawsuit. Someone on Twitter was impersonating Anthony La Russa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He sued Twitter after an unknown Twitter user pretended to post updates as La Russa. [The fake account has been removed.] Why is this so interesting? La Russa’s  attorneys tried to call the folks at Twitter before suing, but got no response. As I commented this afternoon, does that mean the only way to reach Twitter is through… Twitter? Um… that would be like the phone company not reading its mail….

These things are the sort of things that capture my attention, and why, today, Twitter was far from a waste of time.

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