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

@jylmomif Jyl Johnson-Patee is one of the minds behind the EVO conference,, 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  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?

FourSquare Cheater Rant

One of my favorite iPhone apps is FourSquare, aka #Foursquare and #4sq on Twitter. FourSquare is a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices, and a game. Registered users can update their location and connect with friends via mobile application (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Palm, etc). FourSquare gives you the option to connect to  Facebook and Twitter to share your checkins as you choose to. It’s a great way to see where your friends are, get ideas on places to eat, and highlight local businesses.

Points and incentive badges are awarded for adding new venues, checking in with a certain frequency, or for visiting a specific venue a designated amount of times. When a user has checked in more times at a specific venue than any other user, they will be crowned “mayor.”

When you have a suggestion that other visitors might enjoy at the venue, pay it forward and post a tip. You may save someone a really awful meal/experience by giving them the heads-up.

I have to admit that FourSquare can get very addicting. I started “playing” at the end of January, and I was one of only two “players” in Spanish Fork. The southern Utah County area was barely touched with places to check in, and I racked up points like crazy going to all the places I frequent. One problem is that there are no firm/established guidelines or rules for Foursquare use, and it would be helpful if new users were given some type of etiquette tutorial. The etiquette for FourSquare use seems to be constantly evolving. Unfortunately, as anything gains momentum and becomes popular, people are going to start cheating.  Within the past 5 days, I’ve gone from 31 mayorships to 14, due to two particular local newbie cheaters. Can you guess who?

Is it really worth your integrity to cheat on a social networking game? Why knock off the rightful mayors, who actually support local businesses, with driveby checkins at places you don’t even frequent? The two particular cheaters have already put in 50+ checkins in 4 days, and are threatening to oust me from the rest of my local spots. Why would someone want to be the mayor of a physical therapy office, if they’ve never had an injury? What’s the street cred (other than drug seeker) in having twice-daily stops at a pharmacy? What’s the worth in checking in at a library when they aren’t even open on Sundays? Most of my frequent stops in town know me by name, appreciate my business, read the reviews I’ve written on my blog, and smile when I walk in their store. I’m a competitive person, and this game is right up my alley, but I’m not willing to cheat to stay on top.

A personal word to cheaters: If you REALLY want to rack up mayorships and points, add your own venues. Don’t steal the mayorships that are valid and earned honestly? You get +5 points for every place you add. Sure, it’s easy to open the app, punch in rapid-fire driveby checkins, and hurt feelings. But also…once you’ve ousted me, I’ve got your info. I have a personal contact at FourSquare that has asked me to tattle on the local newbie cheaters. Once you show a series of invalid checkins, you WILL be banned. And what fun is that?

To all the FourSquare Cheaters out there…this badge is for you: