I admit it. I’m a twitterfreak. In the space of a few months it has become the single most useful business tool I’ve ever used on the web, and has also been great at improving my social circle.

Its growth has been astonishing. Just look at this graph that shows it’s percentage reach over the last 18 months:


Interestingly though, it’s barely made the faintest dent in Facebook’s dominance. And yes, Twitter does feature on the following graph. You just have to look *very* closely…


I can only assume that the majority of Twitter’s users access it through clients such as Tweetdeck and Twhirl, which don’t access the site directly, and therefore wouldn’t contribute to those graphs.

And yet it’s really difficult to explain to non-converts why they should be part of the movement. The following video gives an overview of the social aspect of Twitter. If I’m honest, I don’t see much point in using Twitter if you don’t have any particularly strong passions, or are “in business”. I may be wrong, but I’m not entirely sure how Twitter would be of much benefit on a social level, above and beyond what Facebook and forums currently provide…

However, if you are self-employed, a freelancer, a passionate indulger, or just want to get more involved in your own industry, then you’d be amazed at how Twitter will change your online behaviour. As @biggreensheep says in this Guardian article about Twitter: “If Dave be “the home of witty banter” then Twitter has got to be the home of intelligent social networking. While other social networks rely heavily on gimmicks and apps, the Twitter platform holds community and content in high regard.

Another interesting take comes from @bbmorph: “One (of several) ways I use Twitter is to communicate with people who might otherwise ignore me. As a community of ‘early adopters’, people who have joined Twitter for business reasons want to be seen to be in touch with the technology and the community. This makes it easier to talk to people further up the (imagined or otherwise) rungs of business hierarchy than one would otherwise be able to do.”

But the most succinct viewpoint comes from @digitalmaverick: “I use Twitter because it’s broadened the range of people I can interact with instantly and I get authoritative responses.”

But, if you haven’t already, there’s really only one way to truly grasp the point and scope of Twitter. And that’s to sign up and get involved. But before you do, the most important thing it’s vital to understand is that there are three methods of using Twitter for marketing, PR, and self-promotion.

1 – HowToUseTwitterForMarketingAndPR.com
2 – Just constantly write about yourself and don’t “follow” anyone else.
3 – Somewhere in between. Twitter is a dialogue. A conversation. It’s not about “broadcasting”. It’s about call and response, engagement, and genuine interest in a community. Like any self-regulating community, if you see it as an opportunity to self-promote and nothing else, you’ll very quickly find that no-one is listening.

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