I’ll admit it: it took me a long time to get on the Twitter bandwagon. When I first heard of Twitter, I was actually more than a little disgusted, honestly. I didn’t really understand how Twitter could work for me in any real sense. I failed to see its purpose entirely. Who wants to read about the mundane details of others’ lives? Is my generation really that vain? What meaningful discussions could occur in 140-character increments?
I proudly avoided Twitter and quietly mocked those who Tweeted diligently as shamelessly self-absorbed. I simply didn’t understand anything about Twitter, and it seems now that I took some pride in my ignorance.
I was ultimately won over to Twitter due to, of all things, the celebrity Twitter phenomenon. No, it wasn’t Oprah or Ashton who convinced me to join. It was the preponderance of celebrities I respected who Twittered that actually drew me in. If Twitter is good enough for the likes of Neil Gaiman and Eddie Izzard, I thought, perhaps I’m judging it a little too harshly.
So, I joined up late last year. I used it mainly to follow interesting people, and had very few followers myself. On the rare occasion I tweeted, I usually posted about nothing in particular. In fact when I posted, it was the same sort of content I had been critical of before. I posted about school and the weather and the trivial details of my life that no one actually cared about at all. I still didn’t understand how beneficial Twitter could be as a social networking tool.
It wasn’t until a month into my writing for Associated Content that I understood how Twitter could be used to network, promote, and increase pageviews in general. I quickly set up my Associated Content account to autopost my articles to Twitter, and began seeking out fellow content producers. I stopped posting about trivial aspects of my life and started retweeting interesting articles from other people, in addition to my own.
Still, I wasn’t using Twitter fully to my advantage. I began looking into different Twitter platforms. This is where I really began to see Twitter as an incredibly valuable tool.
The two Twitter platforms that changed the game for me are Tweetdeck and HootSuite. Tweetdeck is invaluable as a tool to efficiently organize all of my followers and favorites, as well as track mentions. Not only was I able to organize everyone into easily-managed groups (so much better than the long list of tweets on the Twitter homepage), but I could post my Tweets and read everyone else’s right from my desktop.
While HootSuite offers some of the same advantages as Tweetdeck, it really helps when it comes to tracking my hits. When you post an automatically shortened link through HootSuite, they gather statistics on how many people clicked that link. I am able to see firsthand how effective my tweets are at garnering pageviews!
My opinion of Twitter has vastly changed in the past year, and I owe a lot of that change in perception to Associated Content’s Twitter challenge. It really gave me the kick in the rear necessary to fully embrace the networking potential of Twitter.
Feel free to check me out on Twitter: I tweet as retterin.