Monday, 23 June 2014

10 reasons why I love Twitter

When people say they don't like Twitter, or they don't get it, I am reminded of my Dad's baffled and frustrated face many years ago as he tried to show me where I was going wrong with my maths homework.

"But WHY don't you get it, Elaine? How can you say you don't understand it? It's so easy!"

But then, he was a maths teacher.

I respect anyone's right not to like Twitter - really I do - and unlike my Dad I hope I hide any frustration well. He had to accept that I was never going to fall in love with algebra and quadratic equations. I hope I am as understanding if people shrug and walk away after I've sung the praises of the little bird. If you are still sitting on the fence, let me tell you why I think Twitter's wonderful.
  1. It's quick. No-one's asking you to write an essay. It's 140 characters. How long can that take? I can log in from my phone, laptop, desktop PC - anywhere, in seconds.
  2. It's easy. You create a free account. You follow people and read their tweets. You also see the tweets they retweet from people they follow. People who follow you can see what you tweet. That's about it.
  3. All human life is there. I was a journalist for donkey's years - and maybe that's because I'm naturally nosey. Twitter gives me some insight into the lives of people I know, celebrities, politicians and random strangers. Yes, some of it's rubbish and some of it's made up - but when you've been a journalist for as long as me that doesn't shock you.
  4. You can make connections that make your dreams come true. Last year, a random tweet sent to
    Marie Osmond led to me and my daughter meeting her and her brother Donny (my biggest childhood crush) backstage. If my 10-year-old self could have known that was going to happen one day I'd have worried a lot less about that maths homework. That power to connect people is what can make Twitter a fantastic tool for businesses. 
  5. You can make random human connections that just enrich your life. I regularly get tweets that make me laugh, smile and think from people across the world who I would never have reached by any other method - it goes back to the instant nature of Twitter, the speed and the simplicity.
  6. It restores your faith in human nature. Yes there are idiots who post mindless drivel and use Twitter to say things that are unfair and uncalled for - but that's life. You can block them. If they're really nasty you can report them - but there's a lot less of that than you might think. For every twit there are hundreds more people who rush to the support of strangers, who donate to charities and good causes, offer words of comfort and give their expertise freely.
  7. The people, and businesses, that get the most out of Twitter are the ones who understand that there's a 'social' in social media for a reason. They are the ones who understand it's about engagement,  building relationships and loyalty - that it's not just about broadcasting.
  8. If you have a gripe with a big brand you can usually get it sorted a LOT quicker by tweeting them than if you email, write or sit in a phone queue.
  9. It can be very, very funny. I've loved @Queen_UK since 2010 and @TheVintageYear and @stephenfry make me think as well as laugh with their distinctive voices. As a fan of The Archers omnibus on a Sunday morning, it's entertaining to follow the 'tweetalong' as people comment live using #thearchers.
  10. It's a valuable source of breaking news. Twitter has alerted me to more major news stories in recent years than any other form of media.
By the way, this blog post started off as 'Five reasons....', then went to 'Seven reasons...', but when I get started it seems that I just can't stop singing the praises of Twitter.

You can follow me at @EllaJP and I'd love to hear from you about why you love, or loathe, Twitter.

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