6 by Leo ReynoldsIn recent months, I’ve talked with dozens of real-life friends and business acquaintances about Twitter: what it is, why and how I use it and why they should as well. Twitter updates can be found on my Facebook page, my Plaxo Pulsestream and on my blog. I’ve spoken about Twitter in presentations and conversations.

Here’s My Take
I’m not the expert. In fact, I’m still learning. And maybe that’s precisely the reason I felt compelled to write this post. I’m an average person seeking to understand this whole new twitterverse and what the implications are for my business, my family and friends, my community/country/world and my faith. So far, I’ve discovered at least six ways you can use Twitter today:

  1. Level the Playing Field. You can use Twitter to follow decision makers of online shoe stores, major publishers, wine retailers, technology companies and business owners. You can follow famous authors/speakers, sales gurus, coaches, politicians, entertainers and some of the brightest marketing minds anywhere. No gatekeepers. No barriers.
  2. Find New Ideas. Some of the smartest, most creative and innovative leaders in the world are on Twitter. You can ask questions and get a variety of responses from people based on their areas of interest/expertise. You also have access to thoughts and conversations that are different from your own or those of your peers/colleagues. You can even use Twitter for online brainstorming.
  3. Catch Breaking News. By following @breakingnewson and @cnnbrk and others, you can learn about earthquakes across the country/world, tornadoes in your backyard, primaries and concessions (or not) and more. And you can get this news FAST – typically before it’s available through traditional media outlets.
  4. Research and Identify Trends. When you read updates from more than a handful of people about a particular product or subject, you see emerging trends. You can also use Twitter to determine if trends are isolated to people within a certain geographic region, demographic, psychographic or market segment.
  5. Generate Visibility. Use Twitter to gain additional visibility for your business (or personal brand) and generate traffic for your website. This has happened for me when “tweople” with small, moderate and large followings have tweeted about @CherylSmith999.
  6. Enjoy the Water Cooler. While working from home has many great advantages, solopreneurs can sometimes feel isolated or disconnected. Twitter is like an online water cooler or break room, providing you with a venue for conversations about daily happenings.

What Others Are Saying
Social media expert Chris Brogan has written five posts specifically related to Twitter and dozens more that touch on the subject. Read Chris’ Newbies Guide to Twitter or How he uses Twitter. Check out Rafe Needleman’s comprehensive newbie’s guide to Twitter. From the C-Suite, Thomas Nelson’s President & CEO, Michael Hyatt, has a great 12 Reasons to Start Twittering post. People all across the blogosphere, the twitterverse and even main stream media are talking about Twitter. Just maybe Twitter is more than a novelty or geekfest.

Not yet using Twitter? Try it out. It will probably feel awkward at first but chances are, in no time, you’ll get the hang of it. Who knows, you may even come to rely on it.

Already a believer? How do you use Twitter? When people ask you for info about Twitter, where do you point them? Leave your comments here and broaden the conversation.

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds – Creative Commons: Attribution, Non-commercial, Share alike.