Bizzarely, at least to me, I seem to spend a lot of time persuading people that there is real business value in tweeting...
I have a couple of standard arguments and I'd like to crystallise those here.
It may be an interesting, and hopefully convincing read if you don't tweet, and useful to people who do, and would like to convince others.
so, why does twitter matter?
Firstly, Twitter doesn't matter:
The first myth to dispel is that we're talking about Twitter at all here. This post isn't really about the usefulness of Twitter, it's about the usefulness of global, realtime communication and networking.
A lot of people hesitate to sign up to Twitter because it's "just a fad" or it will be "replaced by something else next week" so forget the platform, forget the brand name.
Just ask yourself this:
Can you see the benefit in global realtime communication and networking? Can you see the benefit in being able to network with thousands of people in your field, from across the world, in being able to ask questions of them all in seconds, and get responses near instantly?
I really wanted to get on the recent google plus trial, one tweet and I'm in (Thank's so much Paul) and three hours later, google have shut down invites to the trial! I wouldn't be on the trial unless I'd been using Twitter.
Having a large and responsive network is massively beneficial, and believe me, global, realtime communication and networking is here to stay, what it's called in the future doesn't matter, but trust me, if you build up a network of likeminded people they'll continue to be your network on whatever platform comes next.
That said, Twitter is currently the simplest form of this type of communication, so get started now, build your network, make contacts, friends, mentors & followers.
Short and sweet
So hopefully you can see that twitter is a networking tool, but it's also a valuable educational tool...
One of the hardest things in business is to keep up with the trends, whatever your sector, things change and that pace of change appears ever increasing.
One of the questions I'm often asked is how I know so much about these sorts of tools, or the web in general, "I just dont have the time to keep up with it all" I'm told. It sometimes comes across as a tiny bit offensive, as if everyone else is really busy and I must have loads of time on my hands. Well I don't, I just follow a select group of people who make it their passion to be informed as I make it mine, and between us we all share a lot of information.
What helps this along is one of the joys of tweets, they're short, 140 characters, so many of them are true pearls of wisdom. By following the right people you can skim through their findings and get up to date on any subject really rather quickly, and as they usually post links to more in-depth articles you can choose how and when you want more insight into a particular area.
The impact of being recognised
Once you're on board it's important to realise that Twitter isn't just a virtual tool, you'll meet your followers and the people you follow, they'll recognise you and you'll recognise them.
The image you attach to your profile is crucial, make it large, clear and recognisable. People will hunt you out when you're at the same conference, you'll make valuable friends and strengthen bonds, many people I speak to get a lot of business from Twitter, and putting a face to the name is a big part of effective use of the tool.
Use it your way
The final thing i tell people is sometimes the most important.
You don't have to say anything on twitter.
I know people who use it purely as a tool for consuming information, they've been on twitter for years, and follow hundreds of people, but never tweet at all...
Twitter is a tool, and you can use it however you like, there's immeasurable benefit in getting involved actively, but it can be just as valuable a tool for pure research, it can be a PR tool, a networking tool, a marketing tool, a research tool, a way to attend a conference virtually, keep up on the latest news, the list goes on...
And all in just 140 characters!
Just give it a go...