Here are my thoughts on my fortnight on twitter and some tips on how to get started and I write this as I reflect on having just read the Next story. I know I am wonderfully behind the curve on all this tweeting business but there you go.
Here's the nub of it. We all get our information from somewhere (TV, Radio, Newspapers, other people, Libraries) and Twitter is a means of filtering all the information you want to expose yourself to into one place. My conclusion is that there are some very helpful things about twitter but there is also tons of waffle and blather that frankly is best avoided. Twitter at its best allows you to filter the noise and chaos of the internet into a stream of helpful and relevant information tailored to suit your interests and needs.
My step by step guide goes as follows:
1. Set up an account: This is easy and won't take you more than a few minutes
2. Download Echofon: If you are an iPhone user this gives you access to twitter, there are others but I think this is the best. You could use Hootsuite if you are a real social media junkie which I am not.
3. Follow a few people: I initially followed a range of folk and after two weeks most of them are not worth the bother and are soon to be culled. What I have found good is the range of people and websites who link to things you might be interested in (music, food, theology, arts, news and comment etc). All the major providers of information have sophisticated Twitter activities and once you get the hang of how it all works its a good medium (you just need to be sure to filter the message)
4. Sort into lists: This is absolutely key and enables you to filter the information as it flows to you. Without lists there is just a ton of noise (as on news feed on facebook and we all know how annoying that can be or maybe I am just grumpy). Once you have chunked your 'following' people and sites down by putting them into categories it enables you to check them selectively. Some tweets might warrant a daily look and some weekly or other v. infrequently or as need arises e.g when travelling for example.
My lists are:
a. News: All the newspapers, Sky, the Economist, Time Magazine and the BBC stream news constantly. Twitter is far easier than checking individual websites.
b. Daily Quotes: I have a select few on what I have called 'Daily Quotes'- these include Spurgeon, C S Lewis, Kellerdaily, Nicky Gumbel, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Hudson Taylor, Jonathan Edwards, A W Tozer and Rick Warren.
c. Journalists: This is a mixed bag and the best journo's are not necessarily the best tweeters. You will have to discover for yourself.
d. Bloggers: Good bloggers generally but not always make good tweeters. I have lots of blogs in my google reader but the truth is there are only a dozen or so of these that I read consistently. I now find it easier to track these on twitter.
e. Tech news: Unsurprisingly tech is very big on twitter and there a lots of interesting people tweeting news on technology and links to geeky gadgets and websites.
f. Magazines: There are endless mags you can subscribe to including Spectator, Prospect, Rolling Stone, Wired etc.
g. Christian Movements and Organsations: These are endless and include Green belt, The Resurgence, Desiring God, EA, Church Army, World Vision, Tear Fund.
The whole idea of getting followers is a bit lost on me. I couldn't care less if you follow me much as I don't mind if you do or don't read this blog. Personally, I would rather my twitter and blog were discovered. Life is truly exhausting and busy enough without concerning myself with twitter followers.
Do hear this- NOBODY cares how many followers anybody has on twitter or it that just me?