Ten things I love about Twitter

OK, so I’m waiting for a press release to get signed off so I thought I might write a blog.

Twitter gets a really bad press sometimes. Personally I think it’s a love/hate thing. Some elements of the media get it and really like it. They like the instant response and sharing of information. Others just use it as a easy-peasy news source and think it’s just populated by eejits who tweet inane things about the news. Admittedly there are some of those, but I’d firmly say all human life is on Twitter. Just as you can’t box people into one safe and catch-all description then you can’t with all the users of a social network.

So here are my ten favourite things about Twitter.

1. Having to write in 140 characters makes you really good at getting to the point. As someone who goes to the Jed Bartlett school of “why use ten words when one will do” this was a challenge when I started using the site back in 2007. There is nothing more satisfying then writing a joke and using exactly 140 characters. Simple pleasures.

2. People are really, really funny. The people I follow have made me snort laughing through my nose in a whole host of places; restaurants, bars, the street, bus stops, the office. Irreverent, pithy, sarcastic and sharp, they just make my day a little funnier.

3. People have started out as Twitter friends and become actual real-life friends. I might have met them anyway without the network or I might not have done. Glad I have though.

4. When I set-up my business it was pretty lonely sitting in my home office. It was winter, I was wrapped in a blanket with a flu-ey cold while editing a BBC documentary and I felt very sorry for myself. Twitter helped provide that input of the outside world when I made a cup of tea. No one else was there to make the tea, though, which was a shame.

5. I had always thought a social network would be purely that, social. Yet as my communications work has grown I think about a third of my business is focused on social networks. It’s strange thinking that element of my job didn’t exist when I started out 12 years ago. It’s so much more immediate for brands and makes it so much easier to connect directly with their audience.

6. If it’s boring then wait five minutes, it’ll get good again. Except if X Factor’s on. Then you just have to turn it off. Having said that Twitter has added an entirely new dimension to live viewing like nothing else. Everything from Leveson to Lady Sybil, Twitter has made it more fun and either made me raise an eyebrow, guffaw or read an article they had linked to.

7. It’s so much easier to keep up to date on what’s happening. I know it may *look* like I lurk on Twitter all day but it’s far from the truth. I dip in and out. It means I can get a rough idea of what’s going on quickly and effectively. It’s the closest I’ve seen to the newswires since I’ve been in a newsroom in its immediacy.

8. I’ve discovered websites and blogs I would never have found before. I read “traditional” news websites but a host of blogs have become part of my regular reading fare and it’s thanks to Twitter and followers recommending different places.

9. Cat pictures. Seriously. What did I look at before cat pictures on Twitter? probably actual cats, to be honest.

10. It won’t last forever. Mark my words, we’ll all be watching some “I love 2012” programme in fifty years and be saying “blimey, remember twitter? What a heady few years that was”. It won’t last. Something else will take it’s place. And that’s one of the things I particularly like about it. It’s ephemeral, not designed to last. And why would you want it to?

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