Or How To Use Twitter To Your Advantage

Social Media is a tricky thing. These days it’s not just important that you be on the internet, but also that you have a way for people to interact with that web presence. With this in mind, I’m starting a series of entries on how to use different Social Media to your advantage, starting with Twitter.

Whether you’re a business or an individual, Twitter has a lot of features to take advantage of. But before we get into the technical aspects, let’s go over what Twitter is first.

Simply put, Twitter is a Micro-Blogging Platform. More simply put, it’s a way for people to see what you’re up to, and vice versa. You can use it to keep up to date with all your favorite celebrities, as an alternative to following RSS feeds, or just simply to keep in contact with family and friends all over the world.

The brilliance of Twitter comes in it’s simplicity. The service restricts you to 140 characters per post. Some would say this makes things more difficult to convey complex ideas, but one of my favorite follows, Kevin Smith, famous writer/director, puts it best when he says that Twitter forces you to self-edit, and thereby makes you a better communicator. But really, it comes down to a matter of opinion. Love it or hate it, it’s the thing that has made Twitter catch on so fast. Well, that and the flurry of celebrity support.

So now that you what Twitter is, how can you use it to your advantage? Well, this all depends on two factors; who are you, and who is your audience. For example, are the parties involved tech-savvy or technophobes? Either way, Twitter has features and support for both audiences, but the most important one is going to take a tech-leap-of-faith for the uninitiated; Twitter Clients.

Twitter Clients or Twitter Apps are programs built specifically to feed and recieve “Tweets” to the Twitter service. You can find them in a range of styles, from complex to simple, on a variety of devices, like your PC, Mac or even your phone! The most popular of these clients is Tweetdeck, which allows you to organize the people you follow into several columns, allowing for quick filtering of Tweets. You can even sync this client across multiple platforms, including the iPhone, with a shared online login! But if you’re looking for something a little more simple, there’s lots of other clients with less functionality. Personally, I like Twhirl. It has a simple interface, and can be easily tuned to not disturb your online workflow.

Check back next week for Part 2 of our Twitter series, in which I’ll explain some of the technical terms used when discussing Twitter.

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