Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Year on Twitter

I just realised this morning that I've been a Twit* for one full year. I signed up initially on 13th July last year to follow the Slugger O'Toole coverage of the Twelfth festivities, and to help in reporting on the Belfast and Banbridge parades I was attending. 365 days and roughly 412 tweets later, what have I learnt over my debut year on Twitter?

- It can be a useful tool for blog promotion. My blog is set up to automatically provide a tweeted link to the latest blog post, so that people can know when new stuff is appearing on the blog. It can be interesting playing with blog post titles to try to capture peoples' imagination. It can also be a tool for spamming, which is the downside of the promoting advantage. While some may think my tweets are spam, there are truly genuine spammers using Twitter, which can be a bit off-putting. The block button can come in very handy on those occasions.

- It can be a good way to keep up to date with news stories as they happen, with eyewitness reports and opinion. Sometimes, even before mainstream media even know that something is happening. It's always good to remember that often it is opinion being reported, rather than fact, and that sometimes, discretion is required.

- It can be a good way to keep in touch with friends, particularly 'internet friends' - if that doesn't sound too weird or geeky. So there are some people who I have come to know primarily through Flickr, and it can be useful to see what they're up to, where they're going to, and what they're taking photos of through Twitter. However, the downside of this is that conversations are difficult to follow, especially if several people are involved, so perhaps Facebook is more accessible and easier to follow on a wall post or status update.

- It pays to get stuck in. The only way to truly understand (?) and appreciate Twitter is by getting involved and using it properly. Many don't see the point if they have few followers, but even by starting conversations and building networks, Twitter can be useful and fun.

- It can be used for good purpose. Some American pastors in particular use it regularly to post a devotional thought, or a short nugget of Bible truth, which may be just what is needed at that precise moment. Adrian Warnock also hosts discussion of his book Raised With Christ on Twitter. See also CS Lewis daily.

A full year on, and I'm probably more of a Twit than before. Sometimes it can be a bit unnecessary or narcissistic, but Twitter can be used for good. So go ahead, be a Twit like me!

* or is that a Twitterer?

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