First Chronicles 12:32 mentions the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do“, and I’m jealous. As much as I try to keep up with what’s going on in the electronic universe that surrounds us, I do not always ‘get it’. I wish I understood the times and could tell which things were just fads and which things were the real deal.
And I’m not sure about Twitter. Right now it seems like the perfect social networking tool to tie everything together. Yet a lot of people resist it, even people who would like it (such as my friend Danny). Yes, there is Twitter nonsense and even abuse, but there are also some great uses for Twitter.
BRIEF. One of the great features of Twitter is the 140 character limit. This forces the author to compose his thought with brevity in mind. (Unless someone links together 10 Tweets – which often merits a BLOCK from me!).
QUICK. Twitter is instant, easily readable and replyable (is that a word?). E-mails that demand a thoughtful and longer response tend to sit in my inbox
a long time forever. Texting is quick and to-the-point as well, but you do not always know who has a texting plan and you could be costing other people money. My Direct Messages from Twitter come to my cell phone as a text.
INTEREST. When you follow people of similar interests, you find out about things you like sooner. I can think of several news stories lately that I first heard about on Twitter from people who also were interested in them. The Christian Chronicle now has Twitter updates, allowing interested readers to have swift access to new stories (cofcnews).
CONNECTIVE. I occasionally check out Nearby Tweets so I can connect up with local people using Twitter. You can easily find your friends who are already using Twitter. You can connect with others who are in the same field you are, or in whom you are interested. There are Tweet-ups in various locations where you can meet Twitter followers in person.
SEARCHABLE. You can search through Twitter for posts of interest to you. I love to search for #americanidol while I’m watching American Idol. I can enjoy commentary from around the country as we all watch a favorite show. (The # is a hashtag that allows Twitter to gather together topics being posted all over).
INTERACTIVE. Every time I update my Twitter status, it updates my FaceBook status (except when I begin my message directed at a particular person such as @bradpalmore … then it will not go through to FaceBook). In addition, my Twitter updates are located on my blog (take a look to the right … you’ll see them!). So, I’m able to update in three places with one short post. There have been other tools that spread the posts even farther, but these suit my needs.
PERSONAL. My tweets are about my life and friends. It’s a totally volunteer thing to follow me, so if there are any disinterested people, they can unfollow! I like it that my mom, sister in law, and one of my stepsisters update Twitter, so I can keep up with them. I enjoy hearing the thoughts of others and what’s going on in other people’s lives.
ANXIETYLESS. I notice that many blogs are not being updated as often as they used to be. For some, the flash has worn off. But for others I’ve talked to, there is a certain axiety about what to put on the blog. I think blogging is here to stay, but it will boil down to those who seriously have a purpose and reason to keep sharing their thoughts. Twitter, on the other hand, is anxietyless. You can keep up with friends and others by simple 140 character posts without having to write a philosophical treatice.
ACCESSIBLE. There are many Twitter ‘clients’ which allow you to make full use of Twitter. I currently use TWEETDECK on my computer. I keep it running and it lets me know when there are new tweets to read. Since my screen is wide, I keep it where I can see it and there’s still plenty of room for my other windows. I have also used Twitterfox with good success. I use Twitterfon on my iPhone. I occasionally use Monitter, where I can select three or four topics that are trending and follow them. This is helpful if something significant is in the news or going on in the world. There are many others from which to choose. I would not think many people actually use the Twitter homepage – but maybe I’m wrong about that.
So, as someone who wishes he better “understood the times“, I could be wrong … but I think Twitter is the way to go for many people. Twitter ties so many things together. Watch my friend Chris Gallagher’s blog … he promises a free e-book on using Twitter soon!
Thanks for reading,