You may recall this post from last September.
I expressed the fact that I was "ill-twitter-ate," but that I really wanted to figure the twitter thing out.
Some of your responses were really helpful and encouraged me to keep trying to use twitter... in fact, I spent the next day glued to my twitter screen trying to make sense of it all.
Since then I have grown to love twitter.
I want to share with you 3 reasons why twitter is a normal part of my daily routine:
(1) Twitter promotes an open environment where bloggers can connect with other bloggers and develop more meaningful relationships.
One of the things that I most enjoy about blogging is the dear relationships that I have gained with other women all around the world. I have met so many wonderful ladies who have inspired me, encouraged me in my walk with the Lord, and been there for me during difficult moments. I don't even categorize some of them as "blogging friends" anymore... we're just friends!
Twitter has played a huge role in developing these relationships. While blogger allows you to comment back and forth on each others posts, and email provides a way to delve a bit further into someone's personal life... Twitter helps you to connect with someone in a more conversational setting. By responding to someone's tweet with a "@" you are bascially engaging in a conversation with them. For example:
Mandipidy: I have no ideas for dinner. Anything easy that doesn't involve an oven?
OtherPerson: @Mandipidy I have a great recipe for blah-bitty-blah... I'll message it to you.
Mandipidy: @OtherPerson You rock!
Ok, that's a silly example... but you get the idea.
Months ago, 3 other ladies and I tweeted at each other about one day meeting up and eating cheesecake together. At the time it seemed utterly silly... but just last week I did get to meet one of those ladies for cheesecake! We happened to be ridiculouly close to each other, and because of the relationship that we had developed over many a conversation on twitter, I was thrilled to get to meet her and another friend in "real life."
If the "@" feature of twitter is daunting to you, take the plunge and give it a try! You might be surprised at how friendly people are in the twitter setting... and you may soon find yourself planning a cheesecake date with someone.
(2) Twitter provides a networking opportunity for businesses to promote their goods and services to potential customers.
I'm going to be honest... this was why I first started using twitter. I had heard that it was a great way to spread the word about your business and share promotions, and so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon... without much success at first.
I did not understand that in order to be an effective tweeter, you need to be consistent. Hopping on the network every couple of weeks (or even days) is not going to establish a firm base of followers or insure that the links you tweet are viewed. Consistency is key. That is why "daily routine" is part of the title of this post... it really requires a commitment if you want your tweets to be at all effective.
That being said, if you do successfully establish an audience of followers who are interested in your tweets, twitter can be a highly effective way to spread the word about your blog, shop, product, event, etc. Honestly, I rarely seek out a blog post in my blogger dashboard or google reader these days... I get to most of the blogs that I read on a regular basis via links on twitter. The same is true for handmade goods... most of the etsy shops and listings that I find are in tweets. And I know from personal experience that twitter has increased the views that my etsy shop receives by leaps and bounds! It usually does not result in a sale right away, but at least it is getting the name of my shop out there to potential customers.
(3) Twitter is a great place to find support, feedback, and encouragement from like-minded people.
Of my three points, I believe this last one to be both the most wonderful and commonly abused aspect of twitter.
Because twitter becomes a network of friends and relationships, it can feel like a "safe" place to "vent" when something goes wrong or a place to seek advice when you are having a problem. I'll share a silly example: I love me a good grilled cheese sandwich, and Steak and Shake's is the best. Sadly, the closest Steak and Shake is like 100 miles away... so finding myself in a craving predicament, I threw out some tweets like this:
Mandipidy: Cheddar cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich... does that sound right? #lookingforthatdinertaste
I got an overwhelming response of helpful answers... including this one which included a link to Steak and Shake's recipe!
While that is a silly example, the point is that twitter is a quick and effective way to find an answer or get people's feedback.
A much more significant example actually occured this afternoon (while I was in the middle of writing this post!)... my husband called me to let me know that because of the government furlough that may begin tonight, the government will no longer house us on base while we are here in Virginia. I tweeted:
Mandipidy: And so much for security... we are no longer deemed essential and have to find some other place to live for the next few days. #trustingGod
I was overwhelmed with responses from people saying that they were praying for us... some blogging friends even offered to let us stay with them if we couldn't find a place to go! That's the beautiful thing about twitter... it can become a community of close-knit people who care deeply about each other!
Sadly, like all good things, there is also a potential to abuse this community. Gossip, cliqueness, hurtful messages... it is unfortunate that people bring these into twitter as well. As in all aspects of life, we should strive after Ephesians 4:29 in our twitter relationships:
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."