Twitter offers many things to many people.
Some love Twitter. Some hate Twitter. Many are indifferent.
While Facebook is easy to Like, it is even easier to love Twitter. Where else can you feed your passion and learn and share in real-time with like-minded people from anywhere in the World Wide Web? However, as with any method or tool for love or life, success depends upon how and when you use it.
If done without focus or direction, you will quickly and reluctantly discover the dark side of Twitter. This may make you want to return home to the privacy, safety, and certainty of your friends in Facebook. Negative connections with spammers, trolls, haters, follow me back tricksters, or those too popular to follow you back may trigger a wish to feed that conniving and not-so-cute-on-second-thought little Twitter bird to Hello Kitty. The secret for the return to love is found in the follow and the follow back.
Even more important than the number of followers, retweets, and mentions, are the benefits of a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Twitter offers life-long learning from like-minded connections to those willing to abandon the shotgun approach and take up arms with the rifle of a sharp shooter.
Nonetheless, it is easy to get side-tracked, over-followed, and overwhelmed with a fast growing and seemingly unmanageable Twitter stream. Simplicity can calm the waters and focused Twitter lists of favorites to follow can slow down the flow and better organize for time management. While Twitter runs in real-time, you do not have to derive anxiety from fear of missing something important.
Sometimes it is refreshing to jump head first into the Twitter stream to catch an unexpected chuckle, guffaw, or nugget of wisdom from someone of the unknown. Twitter keyword and hashtag searches provide a serendipitous tool for real-time search and inspiration.
Last of all, you should never forget that others are watching. In the eyes of your boss, your coworkers, your clients, your professors, and potential employers, you are what you tweet. While brand identity is how you want others to see you, brand image is how they do see you. And, creating a focused and professional brand identity can truly be one of the great career rewards of Twitter.
Twitter works, but only if you want it to and are willing to focus, organize, learn, strategize, and jump in the stream with a deep breath and an open mind.
What are your feelings about Twitter? Describe in the comments section below.
Image credit: photo by GeishaBoy500 on Flickr.
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