Many people in my circles don’t get Twitter.
If you’re reading this, chances are good that you use Twitter to some degree in your life. However, most of the people in my immediate life circles don’t use Twitter. I’ve heard a variety of reasons from friends to explain their views. The reasons include an ignorance of the capabilities of the tool, an aversion to technology, and not having time to add another thing in their life.
I can understand that. Twitter can be difficult to get your head around because it’s composed of a lot of disparate information. Watching a twitter stream can be like seeing the green code from The Matrix flash by if you’re not trained how to use it. Some of the reasons for people misunderstand Twitter are based on their first impressions which may have been formed in the early days. The original intent of the tool was to answer “What are you doing”? Naturally, people often answered with with updates on their daily routines.
But Twitter has evolved and people are using it for valuable activities.
Research, news, sharing industry information, discussing topics in real-time, and finding jobs are a few uses of the Twitter of today. It’s true, Twitter is still filled with a ton of information that you’ll never use. It’s filled with advertisements, random thoughts, and self-promotion too. But I could say that about email and Facebook as well.
What’s cool about Twitter is that you can control the content that you see. If you follow someone (or some group) and don’t find value in what they contribute, then you can turn them off. You can search for what other people are saying, even if you don’t follow them. Oh, and that gets me to the point of this post.
I found a lifetime connection and using Twitter search.
It’s a freelance position as a writer for Patch. My story in brief goes like this. Last year I decided to start a search to see what people and organizations were saying about my hometown on Twitter. It was really out of curiosity and to explore different ways that people and organizations were using the tool I found a tweet from the local Patch editor inquiring about residents interested in writing. One thing led to another and after meeting with the editor and discussing some details I decided to give it a try. It’s been nine months and I’m still contributing (See Bob’s Patch Articles).
This has become more than a tweet, or twitter follower. It’s become a connection to my community. The writing I contribute involves community relationships and information sharing. It creates a sense of belonging and purpose.
Some practical benefits of my connection.
Taking on another commitment was definitely something I could have avoided. But this is freelance work, so there is some flexibility in the schedule. That was important for me, so that I could keep up with all my other life commitments. But the real value is with the benefits contributing to my community as well as growing my experiences and skills. Here’s a few benefits:
- More practice writing and organizing thought. I get this type of practice and enjoyment from writing here on my personal blog. But writing for the Patch is a different type of writing. It’s a different audience and different topics. It’s pushing me into new areas and making me think differently.
- Learning about journalism style and technique. I’m not a journalist by education or trade. So I’m learning as I write more, both from tips form the editor as well as finding my own style.
- Meeting people in my community. This is the best benefit by far. Meeting people in the community and telling their story. I’ve been writing a column on entrepreneurs in the local area and I’ve learned about some amazing people and how they brought their dreams of business ownership to reality. It’ll get you amped up just listening to them!
I don’t know how long it’ll last, but this my Twitter connection story.
I could go on and on about other uses of Twitter. But jobs get peoples attention. In my case I really stumbled across a writing position. It’s not something I was looking to find the day I created the community search. Even if it ended tomorrow, it’s already been a great experience. I’m learning and having fun. Hopefully, my content is providing value to lives of those reading it. It’s part of my contribution to the community. Thanks Twitter.