Learning To Love Twitter, Sort Of

Lately I’ve been blogging less and tweeting more.

Maybe it’s just that I haven’t had a lot of ideas that are more than 140 characters long lately, or just that I haven’t done much interesting lately, apart from seeing Iron Man II.

However, I am learning to love Twitter, partly because I finally figured out that it’s not really social media of the same type as Facebook, which is what I thought it was. 

No, I use Twitter as a news service and a business-to-business communication tool.

I can find out what other people in online news are doing that way, and have conversations with them about industry issues (like how our business can use Facebook, or what other news organizations are doing about controversies).

I can also use it as a direct news service–whenever the legislature is in session I usually know what’s going on before the AP stories come out, just because the AP stories are longer than 140 characters and thus take a little while to make. Meanwhile, a twitter user can post Pawlenty’s quote in seconds, provided it’s less than 140 characters.

That said, for people like me who take a while to get used to new tools, Twitter wasn’t easy to learn to love. It’s not extremely intuitive, and the # and @ symbols are kinda freaky to people who don’t know the lingo. But the best way to get into it is to just start using it, and look for good people to follow, whether it’s Roger Ebert (entertainment and some politics), the Minnesota Twins, social media wonks or journalists. Just watch them for a while, a pattern begins to emerge, and eventually you’ll probably get the urge to stop lurking and participate in the conversation.

It’s surprisingly fun.

The Daily Globe has a twitter feed here. You don’t have to join Twitter to see it.

I have a twitter feed myself here. You don’t have to join Twitter to see that either; this is the feed on which I reply to other journalists and web/social media enthusiasts. While it’s still not personal, it is not formal, either, and tends to be journo/news/online/social media oriented. And be warned: I’m still a Twitter novice myself.

If you like trying out new things, and especially if you like news, give Twitter a try. It’s not a "I had waffles for breakfast, LOL!" service, like I expected it to be.

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