This is Twitter in 140 characters: A free networking service that you can access almost anywhere that creatively maintains aspects of your business, social, and personal life.
Many critics remain skeptical about the benefits of a social media website that appears to be mainly comprised of mindless babble and thinly veiled advertisements. Moreover, Twitter seems fundamentally flawed. Can you really say anything important or meaningful in 140 characters? Why waste time obsessing over your follower count when you could be doing something more "productive?"
While it is true that their website is saturated with spammers and shameless self-promoters, Twitter does possess certain redeeming qualities that compensate for the unfavorable ones. It can be used to not only maintain current relationships, but also to create new connections, exchange ideas, and gain inspiration. Ultimately, its purpose is unique to each individual. Here are a few of Twitter's most useful functions:
Networking Aid: Owning a Twitter account can help you branch out to others in your field of interest. Even if you don't actually interact with them on a one-on-one basis, receiving updates on their current work may provide opportunities for you to collaborate with them. If you wish to advertise for your services or abilities, make sure that the offer is mutually beneficial.
Branding Developer: The personality that your tweets convey can be important if you wish to gain followers for your product or business. Witty, insightful, and relevant content can generate a positive image of your brand and create a more personal connection with consumers.
Personalized Information Source: Think of Twitter as one newsfeed for all of your favorite websites and publications. Say that your interests include political news, recent scientific discoveries, and indie rock music. Twitter combines all of those eclectic interests into an organized list, making it easy to quickly scan for interesting material. In addition, this content is being constantly updated so that you will always have up-to-date information.
Archive of Your Life: Twitter is popularly referred to as a "microblogging" service, and indeed, it is essentially a miniature journal. It can capture both significant and insignificant snippets of your life. Reading through old tweets from years past can be an enlightening experience, as doing so may reveal forgotten moments, interests, and emotions.
Trend Updater: The 21 century's rapid information production rate can make it difficult for one to keep up with the times. Twitter provides quick and brief notes on current trends, which makes it easier to stay updated on the latest and greatest.
Friend Tracker: Your friends may have a habit of sharing trivial details on their Twitter feeds, but hearing about their daily meals and woes may inspire you to pick up the phone and give them a call. Through Twitter, you can interact with your friends in a more time-efficient way; plus, their most recent tweets can make for good conversation starters.
Laugh Generator: One of the best byproducts of the 140-character limit is wit. Twitter is the perfect environment for humor, and many users solely function as comedians. You are guaranteed to find at least one account that caters to your specific sense of humor.
Writing Practice Board: Most Twitter users post regularly throughout the day, and although not all give extensive thought to their posts, many work to compose carefully crafted messages. Writing regularly in this way can not only help you condense and organize your ideas, but can also contribute to the development of your writing "voice." Expressing yourself in such little space is difficult, but it encourages you to find creative ways to document your experiences and thoughts.
Emotional Outlet: Posting personal information or controversial material online is certainly risky when it comes to future employers, but there are ways you can vent without offending anyone. Celebrating a new job or complaining about the weather to the Internet audience can feel liberating because you are speaking to a community. That community may not necessarily care about the humdrum events of your daily life, but the knowledge that your voice is being heard in some way can deter loneliness.
Celebrity Stalker: On Twitter, you have a kind of close-and-personal access to celebrities. Your definition of a celebrity may be different from that of another's, but either way, you have free admission to the private lives of your favorite stars. With the paparazzi out of the picture, you can read the words directly from the mind of the individual, allowing you to view celebrities as they truly are - as actual human beings.
Inspiration Vendor: Whether you're writing a novel, working on a home improvement project, or creating your own business, Twitter can be a guide in your life. The ideas and stories that others share can inspire your own work. They may even motivate you to abandon your computer chair and start building your dream into a tangible creation.
Social media is a powerful tool that possesses both advantages and disadvantages -- Twitter is no exception. How you use it is up to you to decide.