Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Twitter, reconsidered

Just a couple of months ago, I was skeptical about the whole Twitter thing ("Am I twit for not tweeting?", April 29). While I had set up an account on this and other social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, I personally was not a frequent user of said sites.

Citing a recent study that estimated the "drop-out" rate for Twitter at about 60 percent, I argued that nothing beats face-to-face contact.

But then, when I became an Examiner, I officially joined the ranks of people trying to make a few bucks producing online content. Everything I read about promoting myself indicated that I must utilize these social media sites to build awareness, and hence readership. (You're reading my Examiner stuff, right? Right?) Rather than fighting "them," I decided to join them!

So, now, I'm diving into Twitter, and Facebook, and even LinkedIn, building contact bases, and trying to become a valued member of each of these communities (without wasting a lot of time on the more "frivolous" activities). And actually, it's kind of fun!

Don't get me wrong; there's nothing more valuable than time spent in person with friends and loved ones. After all, you can't hug someone through your computer, nor truly share a smile, a laugh, a knowing look (and no, those emoticons and acronyms -- LOL, BRB, etc. -- are not an adequate substitute!).

But perhaps its time to acknowledge that the Internet serves as a complement to our social interactions, rather than a competition for them. Look at it as having it both ways: face time, plus interface time!

Note: If you're a Twitter novice, it may seem a bit daunting at first. But it's not so bad once you get the hang of it. Here are a couple of articles from a fellow Examiner that I found helpful:

http://budurl.com/beginningTwitter
http://budurl.com/Twitterfollowback

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