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Why Twitter? Benefits and Uses

Suresh asked me yesterday – what are the benefits of twitter other than reading to the little blurbs which are often nonsensical.. or so they seem. I wanted to write on areas that I feel are the best uses and how I have benefitted.

News Source: During the Tsunami, one blog tsunamihelp brought in the new era of citizen journalism – where totally unrelated people were blogging about the various aspects of Tsunami – help needed, death toll, injured, missing, charity etc. It was an instant hit and probably the best source of news. During the Mumbai Attacks in November, Citizen Journalism turned another corner – tweeting the news. The Twitter updates were at most times almost 10-20 minutes ahead of the fastest News media (CNN-IBN most often). The updates were incredible and I was following them closely as well as contributing to it… using the #mumbai hashtag.

Yes, all the news was not always correct and lacked the rigor and the credibility of a CNN newscast, but almost 90-95% was! And, that is good enough! In fact a lot of times, people who made mistakes used to come back to post an update and/or apology!

The fact that you can send in your tweets using phone calls (via Jott), or via email (Twittermail, mail2twitter, Outtwit) or via Google Talk* – makes it very user-friendly. If updating is the issue – then it really cannot get easier than this!

Note: You can find some really good downloads that work with other IM clients here at the twitter download page. It

* 1. Add twitter@twitter.com as your contact in GTalk… 2. On the Twitter home page add IM as a method of updating. 3. Click on “add device” on the page and add in your GTalk details. 4. You will get a password to send to twitter via IM to confirm. (You can also send an IM saying “Help” if you want further information.)

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Conduit: Apart from being the news source, it is a great conduit for other services. I have used two – Xpenser and TrackThis. Xpenser is a service where you can update your expenses on that site via twitter (and email/phone) updates. It works really well! TrackThis is also a way to track your packages. When I used it I simply sent a message to TrackThis with the Fedex tracking number and the name of the pack (like this 123456789123 Books) .. and I was getting regular updates on the where the package was in my email! I did not have to constantly keep going there to check it.

Such apps and services could also be used via emails or phones.. but Twitter becomes a great source of way to make it happen better.

Expand your Online Network: Until I started using twitter, maximum new traffic to my site was coming via Google Searches. But after I started using Twitter – I created a chain: My posts were fed to twitter via Twitterfeed and on the other end, Twitturly and twitturls would pick them up and show them as they got updated. Soon, people who did not know about my blog were coming over based on the Twitter updates. That, I believe expanded my audience.

Other New Horizons: I am using TwtPoll for having a little poll. Until now, the participation has not been a whole lot, but I see that as a great utility once my network expands. Other networking sites, where you connect to people are “in-your-face’. You see everyone out there… read their intended or unintended updates .. and constantly “see” them. In twitter, you just get to deal with the updates – no profiles/ no pokes etc. Just the interactive stuff.

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I have always believed that Yahoo Groups were and still remaiin the BEST Social Networking platforms. It is a pity that nobody in the Yahoo executive team ever thought of using it well. Because come to think of it.. social networking SHOULD have INTERACTION as the main component! But how many had it? Until you actually went to the site to get the updates (Facebook or Linkedin) .. would you even know what happened there? Until recently, and if you dont go through some hoops .. NO! Yahoo Group on the other hand, put you in touch every day or at every update! Twitter is like that. It just reduces the clutter that people usually send with loooong emails. It takes the best about a Yahoo group and strips off the worst in it – the verbosity.. and turns it into brevity!

These are top reasons why I use twitter. Problogger – the blogging Guru has his own 9 reasons and benefits. Depends on what appeals to you more.

Here is one guy who has been conducting Interviews via Twitter – calls them twitterviews! To each his/her own!

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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