My Testimony of Twitter

twitter logoI love Twitter. I really do. And most people just don’t “get it” why I spend so much time on Twitter. Compared to other online activities, I actually spend less time than you’d imagine on Twitter. I thought it was high time to explain why my life has been enriched through my interactions on Twitter. After 2+ years on the greatest 140-character microblogging service, I decided to finally “bury my testimony” of Twitter.

Simpsons They have the internet on computers nowMeeting New People: I joined Twitter while I lived in Michigan in 2008. I used it primarily as a blog promotion tool, as well as automatically reposting my Facebook statuses. I had a few real life friends, news sites, travel sites, and healthcare organizations that I followed. In Georgia, I added in a few coworkers and blogging friends. But it wasn’t until I moved to Utah that Twitter clicked for me. I was lonely and wanted to make new friends in the area, and began seeking out local bloggers who were active on Twitter. After following a choice few people, I increased my Twitter usage focus to conversation instead of self-promotion. Within a month of just being me, I went from 250 followers to over 1000. Through these interactions, I have been invited to events and clubs to spend time with my Tweeps in real life. Between Tweetups, Social Media Club of Salt Lake City meetings, blogging brunches, conferences and service projects, I’ve met several hundred of my Twitter friends in real life. Twitter is a tool to interact and introduce, but the real reward has been the friendships I’ve cultivated offline.

Buying and Selling: Whenever I need to make a purchase, I usually check Twitter, Craigslist, and KSL Classifieds. Most of the time, I’ll find what I need on one of these sites. And when I’m selling, I post my listing…then tweet out the link on Twitter. Sometimes when I tweet first, I don’t even have time to post it on a classifieds page before I have an interested buyer. That’s how I’ve sold many items, particularly electronics.

Job opportunities: I like to network professionally through Twitter. When you are friends with great people, chances are that these friends have more friends you’ll want to know. Through my interactions on Twitter, I’ve heard about many work opportunities. It helped me land a part-time summer internship, as well as my full-time current position. I’ve retweeted work opportunities that I thought would be relevant for my friends seeking work. Combined with the integrated tools with Facebook Connect and LinkedIn, you can establish professional bonds prior to submitting a resume.

Easy access to real life events: Birthday Party? Baby Shower? Service Project? Volunteer Opportunities? Conferences? Yep, I’ve heard about all of these through Twitter, and have been able to spread the word to invite more. You can use the site Twtvite to manage your RSVPs and promote your event. Follow the hashtags of people and organizations that you wish to interact with, and chances are that you’ll hear about an event you can attend to increase your network, or just have a dang good fun time.

Instant gratification: Many avid “tweeps” joke that “Twitter killed my blog.” It’s a great distraction from the chaos of the day, and you never know when your thoughts will generate conversation. When you can get immediate feedback via Twitter, sometimes a blog post takes a while to be read and commented on. Really, it’s a social media ADHD dream.  The greatest Twitter users are the ones who communicate with their followers in a timely manner.

social media crack cocaineA lifeline: Sometimes when I’m having a down day, and I tweet about it, I’ll get replies of sympathy, empathy, and encouragement. On a particularly horrible day, I just needed to know that  somebody out there cared. I had over 50 people reply and tell me why I’m special, loved, and important in their lives. It made SUCH a difference. It’s also allowed me to be there for others who are struggling…whether it be from depression, suicidal feelings, or boredom. I like to joke that Facebook is where you lie to people you know, Twitter is where you’re honest to strangers.

Facebook is where you lie to people you know. Twitter is where you're honest with strangers.

I’ve gained many loyal friends through Twitter, but only because I’ve been influenced by several amazing people who showed me the ropes. If you’re not following these people, please click on their name and follow.

@sahans Stephanie was one of the instrumental friends I made as I tried to get my bearings in the Salt Lake blogging/social media scene. She is a talented and sassy writer at The Daily Blarg. We run into each other often, and she always puts a smile on my face. She rocks the Bumpit and Snuggie like no other. He offers the Twitterverse a large dose of happiness.

@igobydoc “Doc” came to my rescue when I was knee-deep into my Blogger to WordPress conversion. I was losing my mind, and a friend suggested I talk to Doc. He dropped everything to figure out my HTML nightmare. Since then, he’s been one of my greatest friends and allies in social media. He set up Team Awesome Salt Lake Utah (aka #TASLUT). I’m lucky enough to work professionally with him as well, after he gave me the nudge to venture into a new field. He blogs at I Go By Doc and highlights local businesses at Local Joints.

@nakedjen I met Naked Jen before I knew of her online. We were in the same suite at for The Evolution of Women in Social Media Conference in Park City. She’s got a wonderful story about true beauty and femininity, and exudes a power and confidence I admire. As I’ve struggled with body image issues, she’s helped me love and accept myself, despite my physical flaws. Read more about her incredible life at NakedJen.com.

@jylmomif Jyl Johnson-Patee is one of the minds behind the EVO conference, MomItForward.com, and the Tuesday night #GNO parties on Twitter. We met at the Wasatch Woman of the Year awards in January, and she was recruiting help to plan the conference. Although my original assignment of “official blogger” fell through, I was more than happy to help out at the Registration Desk for the event. We bonded at Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix, as she plunged into the swimming pool fully-clothed with @TiffanyRom and @Childhood. Wanting to be just like Jyl, I jumped in too. She’s a mover and shaker, and I know big things are in store for her future.

@paco_belle Scott has a keen wit,  good beard,  heart of gold, and a desire to grab a tasty beverage at all times of the day and night. And he gives GREAT hugs. He’s my Proper Drink Run buddy (aka #PDR) He’s a public relations rockstar, and is the man behind the scenes for many businesses and causes. He writes great web content, and is always open to brainstorm my crazy ideas with him. My life is better because I know him.

@joshspeters Josh is one of my social media idols. He co-authored the book Twittfaced and generates great discussion on social media strategy at his blog Shuaism.  He was setting the Salt Lake City social media scene on fire until his recent relocation to the Los Angeles area. Luckily, I travel to LA often, and he’s kind enough to make time to hang out with little ol’ me. He’s got excellent taste in food, and I love getting restaurant tips from him. If you’re feeling a little clueless on how to use twitter, check out his Twitter Cheat Sheet.

@scottcowley Scott is a prime example of an online acquaintance becoming a real life friend. He has a talent for writing and rallying up the masses for causes like bacon and silly cow pictures. He blogs at Scottergories.com.  I joke that Scott is the luckiest guy I know. He’s the winning-est person I know in the blog giveaway scene…not to mention he’s lucky to know me, and I’m lucky to know him (yet I am still looking for the magic dust on his desk that helps him win contests)

I could go on and on about the amazing people I interact with on Twitter. Instead, why don’t you jump in, join the conversation, and gain a testimony of Twitter just as I have?

Who has influenced your life through Twitter?

  • T

    I love that “honest with strangers” bit… SOOOOO freakin’ true!!!

    still a tweep in training, but it’s become a daily habit – can’t go back 🙂

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  • Wow, what a great post about why you love Twitter. I you really captured what it’s really all about. Connections. Thank you so much for including me in your post, I’m honored and delighted to know that I’ve helped you in your social media quest in SLC.

  • I think all the non-Twitter people should read this. It is a great representation of why Twitter is so amazing. And really social networking as a whole. Truly wonderful post. And I am beyond honored to be included with the likes of the others in this post.

  • WOW… what a great list of reasons of why you love twitter… and what a great list of people to be surrounded by in this post, thank you for the mention.

    I agree with Steph in that this is a great read for all those twitter haters out there, or people who just do not get twitter in general.

    – Doc

  • I’ve tried to like twitter. I don’t understand it. Guess in my old age (late 20’s) I can’t keep up with this new fangled technology.

  • Amy

    Love this post!! I am currently having FB issues and I love your Tweet about lying to those we know. I love twitter and you are one of the reasons I do 😉

  • Wow! What a great post. I feel so honored to be included. Thanks for thinking of me.

    xoxoxo

    jyl

  • I really appreciate your friendship and all the great advice you’ve given me. SLC just isn’t the same without you.

  • So many people give up on Twitter before they’ve tapped the potential of this networking tool. I know most “viral websites” ebb and flow with popularity (ie MySpace) but I hope I don’t ever lose the connections I’ve made via Twitter. The 140-character format is just long enough to speak your mind, but short enough you don’t have to break your brain to say something meaningful.

  • You’re a great man, Doc. The more I get to know you, the more I admire you. Even when you let things loose on #PDR runs 😉

  • I felt like that for a long time. It made a big difference when I started using Tweetdeck (my favorite desktop Twitter client) because it was much easier to organize conversations. But sometimes you just have to have someone talk your through it. As for old age…I’m older than you, so you have no excuse! I hope you haven’t given up for good!

  • I love how interactive you are with me on Twitter. And so loyal on commenting on my blogs. Glad that we have such a convenient way to communicate!

  • I really do admire you Jyl! It’s a pleasure to know you. Let me know if you need help for this year’s EVO!

  • I just started tweeting. I write humor, so one of my favorite things about twitter is that it forces me to summarize my post in a few funny sentences. I like the challenge. I still haven’t made many friends through it and your post inspires me!

  • Huh, I just started tweeting my blog posts. I have gained a few followers, I’m not really sure how to do more… I think I’d like to. I should look into it more…

  • Don’t give up! Find interesting people to follow, and start replying on their statuses. Also, use hashtags when talking about topics that you like to talk about. Like I said in my post, it took over a year before it clicked with me, and I couldn’t live without it.

  • I love how it forces me to be funny in a concise format. Reply to me on Twitter (@cuteculturechic) and we can get the Twitterverse rolling in laughter.

  • I’ve been having twitter issues lately…not working right. It is very fun to be in the social scene. I have met a lot of really great people. I found that I was doing it so often though, that I it was interrupting time with the relationships I have with my family and people I see often.

    It is a super great tool. But, for me it crossed over into an addiction.

  • I was a longtime dis-believer, but lately have been considering adding it. I even typed it into my internets to get started and then clicked away. I don’t know. I worry about the time it would take away from other things. How much time, in reality, do you spend a day? I tend to get “addicted” to the computer, ya know? I actually think I WOULD really like Twitter, but I’m seriously worried about whiling away hours when I should be cooking dinner… ya know?

  • I guess it’s all relative. I use Twitter for work purposes, so I’ve got Tweetdeck up all day. I might update Twitter 40 times in a day, but it’s usually 30 seconds each time I’m on. I also update from my phone, like if I get a reply or have a burst of inspiration. But I don’t sit and look at the screen, hour after hour. It’s easy to do, and I’ve done it before, but I’ve learned to balance it through my daily life, not have it consume my daily life.

  • I have made some very wonderful friends via blogging. Not yet tweeting much due to the way my work computers are set up.

    Blast them!

  • Okay, I admit it, I’m a total Twitter dunce. I know how to post, and to read posts, but I don’t know how to search or follow conversations. And how on earth did you sell stuff and get a job using Twitter??????

  • I too love twitter. I love it more than facebook as well, even though most of my tweeps are people I do not know. I’ve “gotten to know” some great members of the Church as well when we all join the twitter stake and tweet #ldsconf. @theatomicmom

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