Monday, March 21, 2011

Twitter 5 Years Later; How I Use the Social Media Tool

CBS News is reporting that the first Twitter message went out 5 years ago. Since then, what some perceived to be a short term fluke has become a social media force to be reckoned with.

I've been online since 1996 and blogging at the Hope Blog since 2005 and at You've Been Reviewed since 2008. The changes to the internet landscape is best described as an ever expanding city. New addresses, neighborhoods and businesses spring up every day.

Like Twitter, some businesses move onto the internet, set up shop and become their own small city. It's interesting to see how quickly users can form their own community. After you set up an account it doesn't take long to start receiving followers. Pretty soon, you'll be sending 140 character message blasts to a few or hundreds of people.

I'm not embarrassed to say that when Twitter first came around I didn't understand it. The whole system seemed like an elaborate form of text messaging that would be a time vacuum. Here is my nod of apology.

Since then, I have:
  • Kept up with friends and family.
  • Resolved an issue when a company and I weren't seeing eye-to-eye.
  • Gotten help when I sent the message "I'm lost in_____!" 
  • Received 511 updates
  • Been introduced to some really cool online articles.
  • Kept up with weather forecasts and weather emergencies.
  • Learned about City of Knoxville events.
  • Received reminders about the International Space Station.
  • Adagio Teas gave me real-time status updates on the shipment that contained my daughter's birthday present.
  • Made connections with other nonprofit directors. 
When the company and I had an issue to resolved we worked on the problem for almost 2 weeks. Out of frustration I sent a message to my followers. A little while later someone from the company responded. The problem was solved.

The 511 updates have kept me out of traffic jams, flooded roads and warned me about other road closures.  Even though the United States isn't flying there anymore, I still like to watch when the International Space Station crosses over East Tennessee.

Sure, I could have done most of these things without Twitter. It hasn't been deeply and profoundly life-altering but it has added fun and helped me connect with others. In short, it's done exactly what it was supposed to do.

The past 5 years have been interesting. I can't wait to see what the next 5 years will bring. Happy first message birthday Twitter!