I have been using Twitter for the past 6 months or so and have found it to be very rewarding and an integral part of my day-to-day networking. I blogged a few months ago about finally "getting" Twitter and its value to me has only grown since that time.
I use Twitter to:
- Provide a quick update to readers – Sometimes there is not time for a blog post or the content is just too short for a post, so shouting out a quick update to what I am working on at this moment.
- Ask a question to my followers – Who mostly have similar interests and backgrounds as I do, to get a piece of information which is usually returned very fast.
- Find leads on articles to write about for my work on InfoQ – I follow around 300 individuals who provide a constant stream of great information. I get news faster on Twitter than any other way.
- Discover new things related to my profession – Tips or blog links to ways to do things better is always part of the daily stream, really just a free education.
- Network and talk to those I may not often get to see face-to-face – Conferences are a great way to meet and talk with peers, getting to one isn’t always easy but the ability to interact with those same people is great way.
I find Twitter to be most valuable to me as a way to build my network of like-minded folks.
I have benefited from Twitter in the contacts I have made by:
- I found Ninject – a great dependency injection container for .NET
- I became part of The Lounge network and now a member of an open source project, Graffiti-Redirect.
- Met the organizer of a new Rails conference, acts_as_conference, attended it and met many people I knew only online.
- And so many others…..
If it wasn’t for Twitter I would not likely have come across any of these folks and not gained by what they have to offer.
I think everyone who spends time on the Internet using services like Facebook, MySpace and others should sign up for a free Twitter account and explore what the chatter is all about. It is very easy look up people you admire or you may have interest in, follow them and see who they follow. A network of valuable contacts in only a few follows away.
If you don’t already follow me on Twitter, please do so now. I will return the favor.