12 Reasons to Start Twittering

I originally committed to using Twitter for 30 days. So far, I have enjoyed the service and intend to keep using it. My wife, Gail, and four of my five daughters are active. I have sure this is one of the reasons I am still using it.

A Screen Shot of My Twitter Profile

Don’t know what Twittering is? Read my original post on this topic. If you want to know how to get started, read my Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.

If you are wondering why in the world you should consider it, here are twelve reasons:

  1. It will enable you to experience social networking first-hand. One of my pet peeves is people who pontificate on new technologies but have never actually used them. This is particularly annoying—but common—among CEOs. Real users can always tell the difference. There is no substitute for personal experience.
  2. It will make you a better writer. Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters at a time. As a result, you are forced to be concise. In my opinion, this is one of the hallmarks of good writing. Short messages. Short paragraphs. Short sentences.
  3. It will help you stay connected to people you care about. This is one of the few technologies I’ve found that actually contributes to community-building. In today’s busy world, it’s difficult to keep up with others. Twitter makes it easy—and fun.
  4. It will help you see a new side of your friends. In an odd sort of way, Twitter “humanizes” people and provides a context for better understanding them. If you follow me on Twitter, for example, you’ll quickly see that I get excited, bored, frustrated, and confused—sometimes all in the same day. You’ll also learn what is important to me and what drives me crazy.
  5. It will introduce you to new friends. I have now met several new people via Twitter. These have contributed to my life in small but significant ways. Gail and I have even had dinner with a couple that we met via Twitter.
  6. It is faster than text-messaging. In a sense Twitter is a universal text messaging system. You can broadcast to all of your “followers” (i.e., people who subscribe to your Twitter feed) or send a direct message to just one. As a result, I have almost completely stopped text messaging. The only time I use it is to reply to someone who messages me outside of Twitter.
  7. It will make you think about your life. As you answer the question, “What am I doing?” you start to see your life through the lens of the people following you. Interestingly, it has made me more intentional and thoughtful about my life.
  8. It will help you keep up with what people are talking about. Via Twitter, I have learned about hot books, cool software, breaking news, and even great restaurants. Because the information is coming from real people who care enough to Twitter about it, I have found it more valuable and authentic.
  9. It can create traffic for your blog or Website. I have noticed a 30% uptick in my blog traffic in the last 30 days. It may be related to the fact that I have been in the news more or have been writing on more controversial posts. However, I also think it is related to the fact that I am Twittering every time I post a new blog entry. This seems to have a viral effect.
  10. It requires a very small investment. Twitter itself is a free service. In terms of my time, I probably invest less than 20 minutes a day. Since “tweets” (i.e., posts) are limited to 140 charters or less, you can scan them in a second or two. Writing them usually takes less than 30 seconds.
  11. It can help build your personal “brand.” When people hear your name, what comes to mind? What is your reputation? What is the “brand promise”? Brands are built incrementally, one interaction at a time. Twitter gives you one more way to build your brand, one tweet at a time.
  12. It is fun! Twitter is just plain entertaining. Following your family and friends is kind of like watching reality TV. The difference is that you know the people and actually care about them. In this sense, it is even more fun, because you know more about the people from other contexts. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

I’m sure there are some downsides to Twitter that I am either ignoring or don’t recognize. But I would rather jump into the fray and shape the future of social networks rather than sit on the sidelines and throw stones.

Question: How about you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://twitter.com/johnpeltier John Peltier

    I’ve absolutely gained tremendous value from the perspective Personal Branding alone.

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  • apreachaskid

    Very interesting reason to use Twitter. Not exactly sure I’m sold just yet.

  • Rohitforu1992

    thanks for giving these best 12 reasons to have an account and most important the 2nd point 

    • http://makeurmood.com/ Rohitforu1992

      I have also compiled the same post hope you like..on my blog http://makeurmood.com/why-you-should-make-account-on-twitter/

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  • Leighton Haynes

    Just signed up! Michael, you’ve convinced me that there is good reason to give Twitter a shot! BTW, the is my first tweet! :-)

  • matti

    Michael Hyatt is a pussy

  • eerude

    Maybe I’m stupid or something, but why does anyone attempt to “socialize” on a computer?

  • Easycass

    Funny how I am taking the time to write this. I respect what others would like to do in life. But just for me (and those like me)…

    I tried to Twitter. Or is it Tweet. And should the T be upper or lowercase? Never mind. There are some people who will watch programs like Big Brother, Survivor, Coronation Street, and 24; to perve on assorted reality TV shows, to listen to gossip at the local hair salon, to be able to chat for hours on the phone to people they only saw yesterday, to spend hours and hours going through the facebook updates of people, to quickly check their messages and phones between business meetings, to secretly reach for their phone while their plane is still taxying after landing, and of course, to write some tweet for the much publicised (only) 10 minutes a day, and then, let’s be honest and realise it is not just about writing, spend at least 10 minutes/an hour a day reading other people’s tweets.

    I go four-wheel-driving in mud-strewn jungles, kayaking in the Whitsunday Islands, sailing around the Med for six months on my beloved second home catamaran, spend time trying to write business applications for Android, work as a consultant in offshore exploration, spend hours/days/weeks on my passionate photography, enjoy full dusk til dawn drinking sessions once in a while, enjoy tennis when I can, am trying to learn Japanese and Spanish, and currently walk along the beach with my Japanese gal at least once per day… and more… I guess, just selfish over-indulgence in real life, actively engaging in consuming and enjoyable activities with real people that are around and next to me.

    If I did not love to live such a life, and needed to live my life through others, perhaps I would (T)tweet.

    But, I would like to say, I do not judge those people that choose to tweet, as it is a healthy and vibrant outlook to cherish the differences in people.

    As for me, in 140 characters or less, it is now time for a full night out on town I feel… no phone needed. Have fun out there.

  • stephencarter

    Well, I found it very frustrating last year when I started a Twitter account. I picked a bunch of names of people I admire but don’t know personally – directors, authors, bloggers, etc. 62 in all. Two became followers. I tried sending out tweets, sort of like mass text msgs … and nothing happened. I tried for a couple weeks off and on, and finally I had to admit I just didn’t get it, and stopped. My account is still active, but unused. What am I missing? I never really understood how the interaction was supposed to happen, so maybe I just over-thought it. Sending texts or emails makes sense, it’s easy to get, easy to understand what the goal is. With twitter you don’t, it’s kind of vague. It’s that vagueness that turns non-users off.

  • stephencarter

    Actually I get how tweets could generate readers for a website and blog posts, which would certainly be useful for bloggers. I have an author’s website but I stopped blogging which felt too much like talking to a vast, empty cavern. I use my site to provide information to readers of current & upcoming ebooks. Admittedly, I’ve taken on some Luddite tendencies re social media.