There's been a lot of discussion lately (around our offices anyways) about the pros and cons of Twitter. Personally, I've just recently "come back" to Twitter after giving up on it 6 months ago or so. Why did I give up on it, and why am I more convinced about it today?
When I first joined Twitter most of the posts seemed to be in the "what I had for breakfast" kind of category. Fascinating to some perhaps, but not me. That also meant that I felt like I didn't have a lot to say, mostly because I didn't really think it would be that interesting for someone to read about my dining habits. So I gave up on Twitter.
Then a few weeks ago I kept reading the "buzz" about Twitter and found myself wondering, "has it really changed, or is it still mostly updates that are of no interest to me?". So I started poking around, following some people, seeing what kind of things were being mentioned, and found that overall, there HAS been a change (for the most part) in the Twittersphere (or whatever the cool kids are calling it).
Now instead of worrying about always having something to say, I post when I come across something that I think my followers (what a weird thing that is to say: "my followers") would find useful. I've started posting a short photography quote of the day (PQOTD), and links to cool web sites, contests, etc. Yes, some of it is self-serving (such as my upcoming seminars etc) but much of it - at least I hope - is follower-serving.
I follow a lot of blogs and read lots of forum posts, and yet through Twitter I found out about some great photographers, contests, workshops and other goodies that I wouldn't have known about.
Here's my thoughts on Twitter:
1. I post updates only after I ask myself, is this interesting or useful?
2. I don't feel compelled to post every hour on the hour - nor should anyone else.
3. I don't RT (re-tweet or forward for those newbies like me) haphazardly. If it's interesting or useful, I will RT (see number 1)
4. I follow people who have interesting and useful things to say
5. I de-follow (?) people who post waaaay too much about their personal lives, or who post waaaaay too often
(important note about number 5: IMHO, no matter how interesting the posts might be, there's a limit to how many tmes I want to see the same person post in a one hour period. There is such a thing as overkill)
I think that Twitter is becoming an important business tool, where people/companies can quickly get the word out about new products, contests, specials, sales, as so on. Many photographers are taking advantage of Twitter to link to their latest images or to spread the word about an upcoming event. To that I say, awesome! Keep it up.
To the people who decide to continue to Tweet mostly about their meals, airport woes, change in hair color, etc - personally, I will de-follow you (I really do have to learn more about the Twitter lingo, so I can be one of the cool kids). Please don't take it personally, but that's just not interesting to me. (Imagine that Twitter posts were phone calls that you had to answer just to hear "Hey, just wanted to let you know where I had dinner..." Wouldn't that drive you crazy?)
So if you're one of those Twittering folks (or if you decide to try it), please do me the honor of following me. I can't promise that I'll follow you, but who knows ;)