Why Should I Use Twitter?

If you've spoken with me in the last year, I probably wanted to talk about Twitter.  I think it's an amazing resource, but most people struggle with the first and most important question:  "Why should I use it?"  A popular variation of this question is:  "Why should I care about what you had for breakfast?"

Let me dispel that rumor right now:  Twitter isn't just a bunch of people describing meals (although that occasionally happens).  There are people on Twitter right now talking about your favorite things in the world.  There are people you know, people in your city, thought leaders in your industry, and all sorts of folks who leave brief remarks every so often.  If you can find the right people to "follow" on Twitter, you'll be much more informed about the topics you love.

David Carr has a much more eloquent description of how he realized Twitter's value in today's New York Times.

OK, How Do I Get Started?

Create an account then start searching for people you know and topics you're interested in.  My advice is to focus on listening first, then start posting updates later.  You'll know you're following enough people when there's new stuff every time you check Twitter.  If there isn't new stuff, it's time to follow more interesting people.

I'll post some tips later about how to make Twitter a better experience by using advanced search, RSS and some great Twitter client software.  If you have any questions about getting started, feel free to send me a note.  Better yet, you can ask me on Twitter.