Where else now a days can you have a span of several hours like I was able to have about a month or two ago a dialog albeit one or two tweets back and forth with a comedian named Sinbad, the mayor of Portland and local anchors from our number one news cast team at 10 all within just a few hours of time. Where else do you get that kind of access? Where else do you get a chance to engage and dialog with people that you would never ever have an opportunity to do that?

Twitter is making that available for each and everyone of us.  To many of us, it’s pointless babble.

I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. Why am I spending time on Twitter? I don’t care if someone is making toast. I don’t care if someone is about to tie their shoe.  It’s a waste of time.

There is a little bit of a false perception there. Granted there’s a lot of pointless babble.

What I want to briefly discuss here is how and why I use Twitter. I will also share with you some recent news and stats about Twitter that might change that pointless babble perception a little bit.

By all means I’m not claiming to be an expert at Twitter. I’m not claiming that I know the only way to use it and how to use it.  I’m just trying to apply a lot of my experiences in how I use that to develop relationships.

One of the things that might surprise you about Twitter for those of you that are new or still a little skeptical are that the latest stats on Twitter show that it is the fastest growing search engine on the Internet. Of course Google is the top. But this is the fastest growing.  Last year we were talking about Bing.

But with Twitter, the search queries on Twitter on a daily basis have hit 800 million a day, that’s 24 billion on a monthly basis. That’s more than Yahoo and Bing combined. A 33% increase over last year. (And that was a figure from 2010.)

So there are a lot of searches happening on Twitter. Each day obviously 800 million per day is more than a lot.  So its not just about pointless babble.

There ‘s a lot of great great information being passed around. That’s part of why I like to use it.

But before we jump on how I like to use it sharing that little bit of nugget with you, I’ve got some notes here I’m looking at from a recent survey that has occurred over the last year or so on using Twitter.  They are from Pear Analytics in San Antonio.

They analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a 2-week period in August 2009 from 11:00a to 5:00p (CST) and separated them into six categories:

  • News
  • Spam
  • Self Promotion
  • Pointless Babble
  • Conversational
  • Pass Along Value

News, not only are people using Twitter to keep updated on the news, Twitter has become a powerhouse in actually breaking the news faster than traditional news sources.

Spam, everywhere we go now, we see spam don’t we. It’s everywhere. That’s why we jumped off of email. We still use email, I still use email, but let’s face it 90% of the email is spam. I can look at my junk mail box and it’s loaded.

Self-promotion. Of course, there is a lot of self promotion going on on Twitter.

It is a great way if you use it right and are balanced with your approach to drive people to your site, blogs, or what have you. In this, you must be balanced.  It’s like the 80/20 rule I talk about in social media. 80% of your messages should be relational and 20% informational. I think if you flip that, you are going to have a one way ticket to being un-followed or unfriended (as we say on Facebook)

Did you know? 2009 New Oxford American Dictionary). The word of the year is un-friend.

This furthermore makes my point that you want to have that balance on the self promotion side of it.

Pointless Babble, of course it has got to be a category on there. I think this goes without saying and is the top perception of people who do not use Twitter think of the platform.

Conversational, which is great. That’s what it’s all about.  Social media is a dialog, not a monolog. We need to treat it as such.

Pass Along Value was the other type of tweets that were being sent. Passing along value being kind of like forwarding an email or sharing a message on Facebook. We want to re-tweet that message to our followers that are following us.

Some interesting findings of course is that the top category that people use was pointless babble. But, the stats I shared earlier about being the fastest growing search engine, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

If you have a list of folks that you are following, there is a lot of great information that can be had.

For me personally, how do I use it?

I use Twitter because I like to network.

I like to network with people. Matter of fact, I went to a convention or conference about a year ago and I met a lot of people there through Twitter. We networked, collaborated, and we found each other on the convention floor. We started and continued a great dialog.

So we do a lot of networking. Sometimes you are kind of looking at someone from a far and you’re like “Man they look like that profile pick that I’ve seen, I wonder if that’s them.”  So Definitely networking.

I like to use twitter to share ideas.

You know, maybe here’s something I’m thinking about or maybe there’s an idea someone else has. In this, I like to share my ideas and share other people’s ideas. Collaborate.

I’m a news junkie.  I love the news.

I remember being on Twitter on the night the earthquake happened in Italy.  It was like midnight here in the pacific time zone. It wasn’t even on the news yet.  But people were tweeting out of Italy saying here’s what’s going on.

In Iran during the the Iranian revolution, it was the only way that we were getting the news from inside the country during the revolution last year after the election was through Twitter. People are breaking news every second.  It’s fascinating to know what’s going on around you in your community as well as what’s going on around the world and following those different news outlets to get your news.

I follow a lot of people on Twitter because I like to get inspired.

Whether it’s Gary Vaynerchuk that wrote Crush it under @GaryVee or Rick Warren and other folks like that have got some really great dialog happening on their Twitter feed where they will tweet out a quote or a statement or a link and it just makes you want to think… I got to stop for a second and pause and maybe marinate on that thought for a little bit to get inspired.  I used Twitter to get inspired.

I love to learn.

With there being 800 million search queries happening a day, you can imagine how much information is being shared on the latest technology or the latest discussion on any topic you can think of.

I could sit here and favorite tweets all day long and if there’s something I want to read right then, I will. You can learn a wealth of information about anything on Twitter. It’s absolutely phenomenal the dialogues going on on Twitter with sharing information..

I like to use Twitter to dialogue with others.

Our top news team at 10 on TV here in the Portland area is on Twitter and during their live broadcast of the news, they are tweeting with their community and their followers while on the air. It’s absolutely crazy. So I’m communicating with their community. We are talking about a story, or upcoming story or what they are talking about off the air.  And it’s crazy.  I’m meeting people that way.  We’re communicating, networking. We are engaged in dialog.  And we’re engaged in the community.

And so breaking that down, I like to network, I like to use Twitter to share ideas, get news, get inspired, to learn, to dialogue, and engage the community.

And of course absolutely, I like to use Twitter to drive awareness to my latest blog or pages and things that are important to me as well as to help pass the information along from other organizations and places and causes that I support.

And so Twitter is a great place to be. It’s not just about the pointless babble. It’s everything you make it to be and so you determine your course.

How and why do you use Twitter?

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8 responses »

  1. great info Gunner! Thanks!

  2. You’re always a good read, Gunnar. Thanks.

  3. John Haydon says:

    Gunnar – Reading this reminds me of the joy I had when I first started using Twitter way back in early 2008. I was instantly drawn in by power of creating real relationships and connections with people I never met before. And I think because Twitter was the most “instant” of media back then, you could have conversations. Or as you say, “dialogue”

  4. @gunnarsimonsen says:

    John, so true. I never want to lose that. Thank you so much for taking time to both drop by and read as well as RT. We are all in this together, eh?

  5. Mike Douglas says:

    A refreshing and common sense view. I, too, have been one of those who scratched my head over all of the babble and spam I had to sift through. But there are pearls within the oysters when one learns how to look. A nicely articulated blog.

    • @gunnarsimonsen says:

      thank you so much for taking some time to both read the blog and post a comment. It really does sometimes comes down to how we look, doesn’t it? It’s there for us amongst all the babble. Take care!!

  6. tenacarr says:

    Great info.. Always enjoy reading your tweets (and blogs). I have found myself becoming addicted (LOL) to facebook, twitter, and wordpress. They have become key ways to keep up w/ friends (old and new) – without FB I’d probalby never even know what was going on w/ old classmates…… and with WordPress the ability to share my thoughts and ideas, my poems, my wriitngs (such as they are).

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