It wasn’t too many days ago that I was chatting with a few friends about the value of Twitter usage from both a professional and personal perspective. As a follow-up to that conversation, I emailed my friends (both of whom are not on Twitter) a note about some of the main reasons for using Twitter.
Both of the people with whom I was speaking happen to be legal academics. However, the lists below are certainly relevant to a wider range of professions.
First, a quote from Evan Williams, the Co-Founder of Twitter: “Twitter lets people know what’s going on about things they care about instantly, as it happens.”
The ideas posted below are not listed in order of importance or immediate relevance. Rather, they are listed in the order that they popped into my head.
The Professional Case for Twitter
- By searching Twitter, you can see what people around the world are saying about a particular topic.
- When attending a conference, you can communicate with the organizers and other attendees. Communication can be about updates to the conference schedule, speaker listings, presentation locations or whatever.
- If you blog, you can use Twitter to promote your blog and to engage with other bloggers to create a dialog.
- You can be on Twitter as a follower and not as a speaker. You don’t have to say anything on Twitter; just following and listening is perfectly acceptable. You can stay in tune without broadcasting.
- You can follow the key media outlets for your area of academic (or professional) expertise, giving yourself access to real time news and articles on that topic.
- Twitter is truly international, so active engagement in conversations on Twitter can lead to the development of a vastly expanded professional network.
- The technology and law surrounding social media, distribution, free speech, etc. continues to evolve. By using this increasingly popular tool, you will have first-hand experience and insight into this developing story and industry.
- Although no replacement for proper research, Twitter is great for asking for recommendations about a myriad of topics.
- Twitter can be leveraged to develop a presence and reputation for being a source for knowledge and news on a particular topic.
- You can distribute links, changing to class schedule, etc. to students in a very timely fashion.
The Personal Case for Twitter
- Keep informed: Follow local museums, libraries, stores, cinemas and government offices to keep apprised of comings and goings.
- Stay in touch: Like Facebook and email, Twitter is another way to keep in touch with friends and family.
- Save money: more and more business and fee-charging organizations (like museums) are offering deals exclusively through Twitter.
- Find a hidden gem: People you follow will share something new, exciting or valuable. Twitter is a perpetual office water cooler conversation where people share tips, advice and experiences.