As my business colleagues and a number of my friends know, I am a huge fan of Twitter. Launched in 2006, this social media site currently has over 645 million accounts worldwide, with 135,000 new Twitter users signing up each day.
One would think this would qualify Twitter as being one of the established granddaddies in the social media world. Yet, nearly eight years and billions of tweets and hashtags later, posted by everyone from world leaders and internationally famous celebrities to aspiring artists and high school loners, the power, reach and—yes—fun of Twitter continues to elude so many people. “I don’t get Twitter,” they tell me.
Not that I totally blame them. “Getting” Twitter takes a little more time and effort than, say, Facebook or Pinterest. For example my sister, who didn’t even own her own computer until a handful of years ago, took to Facebook like a duck to water, posting and connecting with friends and family like a social media pro. That just doesn’t happen on Twitter.
Unlike the more linear nature of Facebook exchanges, venturing onto Twitter is more like walking into a huge cocktail party, a cacophony of conversations where, at first, it seems like everyone is talking and no one is listening. But like that cocktail party, after you help yourself to a drink and an hors d’oeuvre and acclimate yourself to your surroundings, you begin to get a better sense of what the various groups of people are talking about.
You notice that the certain guests are leading their discussions, while the others close by are nodding and perhaps repeating what was just said to others not close enough to hear it themselves. You see that each circle tends to favor particular topics; some talk sports, others business, philosophy or politics. Some groups seem passionately serious, while others appear to be having a great deal of fun.
That cocktail party, in essence, is Twitter. 24/7. As a newcomer, or someone who perhaps occasionally peers into the party but never stays long, your mission—if you choose to tap into the power, reach and fun of Twitter that I mentioned earlier—is to figure out a way to get into one or more of the conversations, to connect with discussion leaders and listeners who share your interests.
In the coming posts, I’ll tell you how to do that.
Mary Anne Hahn, a.k.a The Word Genie, is a writer, marketing consultant and visibility expert who helps small business owners and solopreneurs connect with potential customers locally or worldwide. You can find her on facebook at http://facebook.com/thewordgenie and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/writesuccess.