It seems that every day a new blog post gets passed around
touting the “best” way to use Twitter, or the “most effective” types of tweets.
Leave that to the big guys who make their living as Social Media Experts (whatever
that means).

I heard about Twitter over a year ago and dismissed it
almost immediately. “Abby, you are going abroad. Instead of a boring old blog
why don’t you just text updates so that everyone can read them.” Huh? It
sounded weird and a little too “out there” for my readership, a.k.a. my parents
and friends who think that Google chat is progressive.

Five counties, two houses and one job later, I can’t seem to
bend enough ears on why Twitter has me shouting from the proverbial rooftops. 

I wrote my blog for them. I use Twitter for me.

I loved being able to update everyone on what I was doing,
seeing, eating and learning in Rome. It was fun to share pictures and read the
comments on my blog from my envious friends and boastful parents. But I felt
like I had to write a post every day
and felt guilty when I couldn’t upload my pictures fast enough.

Rome_abbyOn a slow afternoon back in December, I logged in to
Twitter, signed up and just started typing. I didn’t have an agenda to push or
a product to sell — I posted whatever “tweets” came to mind and clicked around
a bit to find new people to follow. Almost two months later I have accumulated
a fascinating group of people that I chat with daily, and my updates make it to
the Twitter stream of almost 200 people out in the world, only three of whom I
know offline.

Twitter doesn’t feel like a chore. Making friends on the
Internet may be uncomfortable for some, but if people can find their spouses
online and boast about it on TV, then chatting with a few hundred selected
strangers shouldn’t be all that outrageous. Reading my Twitter stream is one of
the first things I do when I wake up; posting updates and replying to
interesting comments throughout the day keeps my mind engaged while my body
stuck sitting at my desk.

It's not very easy to explain*. I once heard Twitter likened
to becoming a parent in that you can't fully understand the experience until it
happens to you. I'm not a parent, and I don't think I gave birth to my twitter
stream, but this is one social media platform I can get behind. Actually, I'm
on the platform, dancing.


*Some user-generated Twitter definitions:
– Massively parallel self-organizing points of view
– Awesome folks beaming their funny, smart and delightful interior lives out to the world
– My online water cooler
– Your neighborhood notice board, if your neighborhood was Earth
– A physically impossible cocktail party where no two guests see the same set of guests

Click here to visit Abby Ross's blog, and follow her on Twitter @pgha

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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.