I’ve never been one for associating with the ‘in crowd’. I’ve never been particularly interested in trends, fashions, fads or crazes. Well, I say never… I do remember a time when I was at primary school when Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle action figures were the big thing, and I saw everyone else playing with them, and I pestered my Mum to buy me one, and she did, and the day I brought mine into school was the day they went out of fashion. It’s scarred me for life. Not that I’m bitter.
Fast forward a decade or so and I’m still in a similar mindset, though it has evolved slightly. My approach now is to observe the trend from a distance, and then when it’s established itself and the hype has died down, then I jump on the bandwagon, and hope to goodness that I haven’t left it too late. As a result, I have never bought a brand new Mac, I still haven’t got an iPhone, I joined Facebook to find most of my friends already there, and I gave SecondLife a spin a year or so too late. And now it’s happened again. I’m on Twitter.
Now, before you all shoot me down for giving in (or praise me for joining the enlightened, depending on which side of the fence you’ve set up camp), let me explain why.
The way I see it, Twitter is basically the ‘status’ bit of Facebook, on its own. You type in what you’re doing, and if people are interested they’ll read it. Or, to be more precise, if you write something interesting and people are interested they’ll read it.
To be a tweeter, you need to have spare time in which to write your tweets, and need to have enough going on around you to have something worthwhile to tweet about. To be a tweet reader, you need to have time to read through everyone else’s tweets, managing who you’re ‘following’ so that you don’t get tweets you’re not in the least interested in, and if you have even more spare time you can reply to tweets with your own. For the average person, there are not enough hours in the day. At least there shouldn’t be. For the average computer geek, there are not enough topics to tweet about because most of it is already covered in your blog.
My primary reason for joining the ranks of Tweeters is business. I’ve spent a fair amount of time the last few days concentrating on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) on my ChapterNine web site. The aim of this is to make my site appear higher in search results, to increase the likelihood of people finding me and asking me to do their web site. SEO is a complicated and mysterious art, with no absolute answers and no magic combination, which is undoubtedly why so many SEO companies charge so much for their services. Of course, site ranking is only half the battle – for people to find you, most often they need first to be looking for you. And that’s where social networking comes in. Hence Twitter.
What I’ll be doing with my Twitter account is updating it regularly with what I’m doing at work, whether that’s researching new technology, designing, coding, announcing that a site has just gone live, reviewing something, or just replying to e-mails. By mentioning my business it gets the name ‘out there’ in the community. By reviewing other people’s products it means they might ‘follow’ my Twitter account to see what else I say. Basically, it’s all about publicity. The more I say, the more has been said, which can only be a good thing. It’s not necessarily going to make a huge difference in SEO terms, but it’ll probably help a little, and even that is not to be sniffed at.