Understanding Twitter

If you haven’t figured out why you should be using Twitter, may I suggest grabbing a copy of the free e-book, The Simple Twitter Book, written by a friend of mine, Brent Ozar. Brent has done a great job of breaking down the basics of Twitter covering things such as hashtags, common terms on Twitter (e.g. RT OH #FF), and how to use lists on Twitter.

Why do I use Twitter?

I started using Twitter in early 2009 and like many wasn’t sure why anyone would want to know what I was doing at any point in time. However, I quickly started following other people that shared the same professional interests that I did. Once I my network of people began to expand to include other database administrators, business intelligence, data management, data quality professionals and industry analysts things started to click. As Twitter has continued to evolve my usage has also evolved. As a result I have expanded my use of Twitter to follow updates from those who share some of personal interests in cycling and inline speed skating. In order to keep things sorted I have resorted to relying on lists more and more.

Twitter Lists

Here are a few of the lists that I have put together to help organize the people that I follow on Twitter:

What about Facebook?

Many people may argue why not use Facebook to stay connected. After all there isn’t an arbitrary limit on the status updates to keep in mind. You can share links, pictures, and follow pages just as easily. Early on I made the conscious decision to draw a separation between Twitter and Facebook. I will admit there is a little overlap between Twitter and Facebook but far less than you would think. Facebook has become more of a place where I share things that interest me personally many of which are links to things I have found online and less about updates about my personal life.

Social Reality

That isn’t to say that I place more value in my Facebook connections over my Twitter connections. As I was about to describe the differenced between these connections I remembered that my friend Jim Harris wrote and excellent blog that parlays this topic almost perfectly, The Challenging Gift of Social Media. The reality of the matter is knowing your audience and sharing what matters most to them using the channel that makes the most sense.

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