The Twitter Addiction


twitterI had a meeting last Thursday with my PR team and one of my clients. Unfortunately, I had to jump out of the meeting a little early to handle a personal matter. When I got back to the office, and after my client had left, I learned that he asked my PR manager about Twitter. He said, “What is this thing called Twitter. I just don’t get why you would want to tell everyone what you are doing.” My PR manager who is not a Twitter user immediately told my client, “You need to speak with Deirdre. She’s always on Twitter. She thinks it’s great.”

My PR manager’s assessment of my use of Twitter was absolutely correct. I really enjoy Twitter and sometimes I think I’m addicted to tweets in Twitter land. Let’s face it, there are far worse addictions. I guess when I first started I was a little hesitant to jump right in and say what I was doing. But, now, it’s the first thing I do every day, even before I have my coffee or check my email.

If you’re not on Twitter or heavily involved in some type of social network, then you’re probably thinking that I’m either a tech geek (which I’m definitely not) or I have no life (well with the amount of time I spend running my business and writing my books for Pearson Education, you may be right). I will sum up my fascination with Twitter and then invite you to try it (but you have to stick with it for a while) before you pass judgment on why people find it enjoyable, valuable, fun, entertaining, etc.

Here’s why I like Twitter and why I can’t wait to tweet and review tweets all day:

  • I find myself lost in the abundance of information from the people I follow. I learn a tremendous amount about technology and what are the hottest topics, tools, and news of the day.
  • I have met some amazing people. They are all different; I can’t think of two who are the same. If you enjoy meeting people and experiencing everything from happiness and joy to frustration and sometimes sadness through new acquaintances, then Twitter will let you have these first hand interactions.
  • I’m a PR person and I want to listen and learn from people. I could read tweets all day because the people are genuine and provide firsthand experience and knowledge that interests me.
  • I’ve made some awesome networking contacts. I will continue to grow my networking base.
  • Twitter allows me to let everyone know the things that are important to me; everything from my family to my books and my business.
  • I feel like I’m a part of a large community that is friendly and rarely has the pretentiousness that you often find in the physical business setting. On Twitter, we are all stripped of our titles and we’re basically all created equal.
  • Twitter allows me to release emotions, anxiety, excitement, and happiness quickly and serves as a release mechanism for a stressed out business person; this really helps to get me through the day.
  • I never feel alone when I’m on Twitter. In fact the opposite is true. I feel incredibly connected to so many people, especially people who I don’t think I would have ever met without this micro blog.

I know that everyone is different; some people will gravitate to other types of social networking forums rather than a micro blog. Twitter takes some time to get used to, but if you can be yourself and share information openly then you join a community that offers valuable and meaningful communication. My advice is to engage and you too will understand and experience the Twitter fascination.


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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Karen Halls says:

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  2. Dwight says:

    Deirdre,
    Thanks so much for your great insight into the world of Twitter. You brought many things to my attention that I had never even considered. After reading your summary, it makes me want to Twitter more than ever before…

  3. Hey Dwight, I thought you might share the same thoughts about Twitter. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and that it inspires you to tweet even more. You and me both!!

  4. David says:

    Hi Deirdre,

    Although i’m still just getting my head around Facebook, i’ll get tweeting soon … just so i can see what it’s about.

    What i find strange about virtual environments is how nowadays, more so than ever, people communicate verbally less with one another and rely more heavily on social network communication.

    So it’s like this: are we living, or are we virtually living … ?

    What i find really interesting is what you mentioned about the emotion that one feels when receiving, or sending a note to someone, and how people like to give an impression of themselves online …

    I guess even now i’m carefully selecting the impression i’m trying to give you online of myself, which in a sense is hugely fascinating – however, if we had to meet in person, would you feel let down by what you see? Or would i live up to your expectation … again…crazy… how people expressing themselves online dictates our imgaginations of others.

  5. Hi David,

    Thanks so much for reading my blog and commenting. I think it’s fascinating how we can form impressions so quickly in the virtual environment. I believe that on the Web people are more open and speak their minds. I remember interviewing the Chairman of Harris Interactive, Humphrey Taylor, for my book and he said that when Harris does research they get higher survey responses from online participants when it came to personal questions.

    I guess when we are in the physical setting, it takes several meetings before you really get to know a person (especially in the business setting). But, online, in a social networking forum or even on Twitter, you can quickly get a sense of a someones likes, dislikes, frustrations, emotions, etc. When I read the tweets from the people I follow, from the happy and the sad to the frustrated and angry posts, I often think it would take months in the physical setting to see these types of admissions. I realize that a person can paint an inflated or unrealistic image of themself online, but in more cases than not, for me I think the saying holds true, “what you see is what you get.” I’ve talked to several of my Twitter and Facebook friends in the real life setting and they are just how I pictured their personalities to be and they definitely lived up to my expectations. Thank you for raising some very interesting points!

  6. Deirdre,

    That’s really funny I have been thinking of writing a blog entry abut my twitter addiction but then it would confirm what everyone has been telling me and I am in denial!

    Truth is everything you have mentioned is what I originally felt when I first discovered blogging in 1999. Twitter has made me realize that I needed to get back to my blogging roots and just start socializing for my own interests again. Lucky for me my interests tie into my work so twitter has been that much more educational and enjoyable.

    I am determined to for co dependent relationships with my real life friends on twitter haha

  7. Hi Adam!!

    Thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I’m finding that alot of people agree with me about Twitter and how it is addicting. I think I was in denial too :) I love twitter and if I let myself, I would be lost in the tweets for hours (mostly reading what everyone else has to say)!

  8. Chad Brown says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the reasons you are on twitter. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and I find that I always learn something new from the people I follow. It’s more than just “what are you doing?” it’s really “what are you learning and creating?”

  9. Hi Chad, thanks for reading my post and commenting. I think the “what are you doing” part of twitter let’s us see a more personal side of the people we follow and the “what are you learning and creating” leads to some of the best conversations and new knowledge.

    I look forward to your twitter posts!

    Deirdre

  10. [...] Deirdre Breakenridge, President and Director of Communications at PFS Marketwyse, says in her blog regarding Twitter that “I find myself lost in the abundance of information from the people I [...]

  11. Mattias says:

    Hi Deirdre!
    I’m starting to warm up a bit to the possibilities of Twitter as an efficient public relations tool. One comment on my blog recommended a short read written by James L. Horton (http://www.online-pr.com/Holding/Twitter.pdf) which opened me up a bit more.

    Being a political nerd, one area I can see some interesting possibilities when it comes to Tweeting is in political campaigns. Both as a communications tool with journalists, keeping them updated on what is going on as politicians move from place to place, as well as with voters (especially if it becomes more mainstream). At least in Sweden, where I come from, text messaging is heavily used between campaign pr professionals and journalists to set up interviews and keep them updated. Twitter could most likely play a role in that context and possibly expand the ways in which that form of communication is conducted.

    PS. My WordPress blog (linked to above) is just a backup for my main one at http://stirlingpr.blogspot.com, there is where the discussion is happening :) DS.

  12. Hi! Glad to hear that you are warming up to Twitter. It definitely is useful in the political arena and I think more PR professionals will warm up to following tweets as a great source of information and conversation. Thanks for giving me the link to your blog. I’ll check out the discussion :)

  13. Daryl Tay says:

    Hi Deirdre! Dropping by from Brian Solis’s post. Sorry to comment on an old post but I totally identify with what you typed about Twitter. It’s just fantastic for me to “never be alone” both with local contacts and overseas. I’m subscribed to your blog, great reading! =)

  14. Hi Daryl, thanks for stopping by. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on the Twitter post. I appreciate your comment. I agree with you completely, it’s a great feeling to “never be alone.” I also love how people are eagerly willing to help and support me with information and advice (all in 140 characters or less). I ‘m still amazed that I can get so much from short snippets of information!!

  15. [...] Found a great blog by Deirdre Breakenridge and a great post called the Twitter addiction [...]

  16. IraFromSyosset says:

    Hi Dierdre -
    When I learned about twitter, I jumped in – I thought it was really cool. I wanted to connect with my friends and people who I could learn from about social networking from a professional standpoint. I happened upon your twitters and have been following you since. What struck me about you besides the nice photo was this whole notion of PR 2.0. There is Web 2.0; Enterprise 2.0, Etc 2.0 – Now I see PR 2.0 and wonder what is the twist here with that. I admit that with social networking, blogs, twittering and RSS, etc. etc. it is quite overwhelming to read all the info out there, even if you’ve prioritized the important thought leaders. So at the very least I am able to catalog my reference sources and should I need to dig deeper on a subject I know where to go (Thank you Del.icio.us). I am happy to say that twitter has helped me stay in touch with friends; I have made some new ones; and I feel I am becoming a more informed internet citizen.
    All the Best!
    Ira

  17. Hi Ira,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my Twitter post. I appreciate that you follow me on Twitter and I’ve been following you! It can be quite overwhelming and confusing with all of the 2.0 terms that you mentioned. When in comes to PR 2.0, many people think it’s synonymous with Web 2.0, but it’s actually an approach and I believe the best way to have direct and meaningful conversations to build strong relationships (which is great PR). Web 2.0 is the platform and the social media applications that complement this approach.

    I find so many different and interesting perspectives on Twitter. I love the constant flow of information from many of the people I follow. Most of all, I enjoy the community feeling and how I’m never “in it” alone. There’s always someone to give advice, share knowledge and/or just have a great short conversation. Glad that you are on Twitter and happy to be connected!

  18. [...] the last time I wrote about my Twitter addiction, several things have happened to me. So, I present to you Part II of my Twitter fascination. [...]

  19. [...] The Twitter addiction – Something I could identify with (back when Twitter was up) [...]

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