Twitter, perhaps even more than Facebook, has baffled the majority of the population as to the practical application of the micro-blogging social media service. The question I get the most from my clients is “I’ve looked at Twitter some before and it’s people talking about random stuff like ‘What I’m eating for dinner.’ Why does anyone care about that?” It’s true, some people talk about stuff that appears to be of absolutely no value to most people. However, when used properly, Twitter can become an invaluable resource to you for information on practically everything under the sun!

First things first, there are three different types of people you’ll find on Twitter;

  1. Personal users– They use Twitter predominantly as a means to update their close friends on what they are doing or thinking. They also talk with their followers in a type of delayed instant-messaging environment where a steady stream of @Replies can go on back to back with mere seconds between posts- or it can be hours or even days before a topic is readdressed.
  2. Business users– These profiles on Twitter are the large corporations who use Twitter to engage their customers, make company announcements, or in the case of news organizations- break stories.
  3. Hybrid users– As the name of this group suggests, these users fuse together personal use and business. These are usually small businesses or employees of a company who have created a personal profile and recognize the importance of a “personal touch” to a business profile. They do talk about “Going surfing later today.” But they also talk about “Just found this link on why Social Media is changing the face of business!”  these users are normally the hidden gems of Twitter.

Twitter can be described as a personalized up-to-the-minute news ticker for whomever or whatever you are interested in. Skimming the absolute surface level, if you want to use Twitter for news- you can follow the major news stations from around the world; CNN, BBC, MSNBC, etc. Then you don’t have to watch it all on TV, but you can click on just the links to stories you find interesting.

Diving in a bit deeper, Twitter can be used as a wonderful information gathering tool and for creating your own “news station” of sort for obscure topics. If you want to find out more information on Living Green there are people who update on that. If fashion is your cup of tea, there are a plethora of fashion designers and bloggers on Twitter who update almost constantly. If you are a Loan Officer and want to know about the latest marketing tips, training tools, and mortgage news- you guessed it- there are people who tweet on that. Whatever your interest or occupation is, Twitter can be used to keep you on the cutting edge of what is new and hot so you become an expert

How do you find people to follow?
Four methods;

  1. Use the “Find People” tab on Twitter and type in what you are interested in.  Keeping with one of the examples from before, this would be something like “Green Living.” Twitter will then generate results for people who have listed Green Living in their profile. Click on their profile- if you like what they’ve been talking about, click follow.
  2. Use and type in something you are interested in. This site searches what is being talked about right now on Twitter, so they are real time results. If someone is talking about your topic of interest, again, click on their profile- see if this is a one time thing or if they regularly talk about it- and if you like what you see, click follow.
  3. Just like using “Find People” there is a tab where you can browse by interest. Twitter collects a small group of high profile Tweeters on topics such as- Health, Technology, and Business. Starting out, it can be a really easy way to find people who update regularly to follow.
  4. The fourth option requires a bit more time. When you find someone on Twitter who you can tell is interested in the same things as you are, click on “Following” on their profile to find who they are receiving updates from. This method can be a great way to find those obscure members who offer great gems of information.

 Starting out, Twitter is basically a blank slate, but with a little bit of an initial time investment; you will quickly have an invaluable resource for whatever your area of interest may be.

Andrew Jones
CEO & Founder
New Media Fluent