The Matt Hall Questions: Twitter
What’s this all about? Who’s Matt Hall? Go see the first one.
I kind of have the same type of questions about Twitter. I post. I use TweetDeck. It’s fun. I feel like there could be more to it.
I’ve had a lot to say about Twitter before. (Primer Part I and Part II here.) Probably more than some people would like. So I’ll be brief here, because there’s plenty to look up if you want more.
As for how to use it, I started out with the web interface, I moved to Twhirl, I gave TwitterGadget a try, and now I’m into TweetDeck. TG was too compact for me; Twhirl was great and elegant, but TD ended up being heavier-duty for what I needed.
The thing is – and this is important – let’s call it Rule One. The key is play. You have to fool around with it – both with the medium overall, and with the specific interface you’re using. Twitter didn’t click for me until I started using Twhirl. Social networks and social media don’t work like appliances. You can’t rely on me or anybody else to tell you what’s going to work best for you.
(Which is kind of like life.)
For instance, maybe you hate using RSS feeds on Bloglines but Google Reader works for you. FWIW, I juggle GR and Feedly depending on what interface I want at the time. It’s just a matter of what feels right when you use it.
Now, as for the “there could be more to Twitter” feeling. Here’s the thing with that.Rule Two. It’ll give you exactly what you want, if you put the time in to figure out exactly what that is and then organize it that way.
(Again, kind of like life.)
You can use Twitter to talk to your friends. Get news headlines. Stay abreast of your favorite bloggers. Pundits. Celebs. Industries. Communities. Totally be a stalker. All of that. One of those. Some of those.
You need to decide what you want and then find the people who are telling you stuff that you find valuable. Maybe what you like the best are dirty jokes. Daily horoscopes. Football scores. Maybe it’s life-coaching aphorisms. Bible verses. It’s all there – you just have to go back to rule 1 and tweak the list of who you’re following until you get there.
Finally, one last point to consider. Just to keep things organized let’s call it Rule Three. YMMV. By which I mean, Twitter may NOT work for you. Anything in life may not. Just because it works for everybody else means nothing. It probably means it’s worth checking out, yes – but if you realize, you know what, this is not adding anything to my life? Move on. Keep an open mind and be willing to give it another try, but don’t keep beating yourself up that “this works for everyone else, why isn’t it helping me, I must be doing it wrong”. Possibly. But maybe not. Maybe you just need to come to terms with the fact that you’re a little bit different, and that’s a good thing.(Yup, just like life.)