Over the past few years, Twitter has become a serious method of communication for individuals, businesses, causes, and governments. Yet this channel still can’t shake the perception that it’s all about vapid observations on sandwiches and the activities of dimwitted celebrities. It’s sad, because Twitter has, in my opinion, moved beyond an “emerging channel” into an established communications platform that has much potential and plenty of uses. Not everyone is talking about fluff … there’s lots of good stuff out there.
If you think Twitter is boring or ephemeral, you have no one to blame but yourself. Why? Because it’s all in how you use it.
It’s quite possible you’re doing it wrong.
I’ve said over and over again that you are in control of your social networks. It’s your territory; you can do whatever you want. Twitter is all opt-in: if you want to get real-time updates on any number of personalities or topics, you just have to follow ones that interest you. Don’t like what you’re reading? Don’t follow those feeds anymore. Getting bored with the same chatter from the same folks? Shuffle the deck once in a while: go use Twitter’s search engine, check out real-time updates through Google, or look up hashtags to find feeds or topics that are of value to you, and follow them. Pull up the websites of your favorite hobbies, restaurants, musicians, etc. and see if they have a Twitter feed to follow. Try them out for a bit, and don’t feel bad about unfollowing them if it doesn’t work out.
What you’re reading on Twitter should be valuable to you. Don’t waste your time by following feeds you no longer read or find interesting. Don’t sit there and wonder why you’re not finding anything good by refusing to be adventurous and finding new sources of information. Go out there and get it done … and stop blaming Twitter for your boredom.
Update (8-10-10): While cleaning out my Twitter favorites this morning, I happened upon a saved tweet from Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) that was the progenitor of this blog post. Therefore, I must give credit where it is due and cite his post for inspiration.