Twitter as a business tool
"I don't need to publish my position daily or hourly or minutely (sic)."
I just read a critique of Twitter, it's basic premise that Twitter is a distraction and unnecessary. What follows is an edited version of my comments left on the site.
People who have never used Twitter often think Twitter is just a place for narcissists to recount their every mundane activity to the world. However, in my experience, I believe that's just propaganda spread by other people who also have never used it.
Finding industry resources
Not long ago a young designer asked me how I stayed current with the latest trends and practices in the industry. First I pointed out that our industry is not covered all that much in the larger press. There are a few periodicals, but are expensive, and infrequent by comparison to accessibility and timeliness of the Web. There is a wealth of good design and web development sources residing in hundreds, if not thousands of blogs and personal websites.
So, how do I learn what's out there on the Web that relates to me? I told this young designer that one of my better sources is Twitter. Yes, Twitter. I follow several industry Twitter accounts and have been amazed by the quality of information referenced by this oft-maligned source. Much more than what I glean from my Facebook or Linked-In accounts.
Manage your distractions
To the comment about distraction, I counter that it's no more distracting than e-mail. In fact, I find tweets less distracting because I can chose to ignore them−scanning 140 characters takes 2 seconds, and tweets require no reply or action. On the other hand, e-mails can be long, require involved replies, and can create a lot more angst.
Because tweets are not intended for communication, you only have to scan your feed a few times a day to find the meaty ones. And when it's time to really hunker down, I turn off my Twitter client, and my e-mail.
Yes, there are those that tweet news of their latest trip to Starbucks, but those are usually friends that I choose to follow, and actually I'm kind of interested in what they are doing.
Social media is what you make it, but it is not to be ignored. You just can't afford to anymore.
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