David Pogue's recent non-article on Twitter declares that the site is what you make of it. It's a silly thesis statement, considering that all Web 2.0 is exactly what you make of it. If you don't post pictures or notes on Facebook, no one will write on your wall, or link to you, and you end up a virtual wallflower. Keep ignoring your LinkedIn profile and your chances of being recommended or referred for a job slide ever downward.
I use Twitter for a few reasons, but the real impetus is to send out notifications of blog posts. Secondary to that, I follow most of my online colleagues, and a few select others. Today, I started @williamshatner, thanks to @careerdiva, and now I will know, what--Captain Kirk--is, up to. (It's so hard to translate his herky-jerky speaking style into type.)
Twitter is the ultimate online cocktail party. You can talk about new music, new technologies, jokes, jobs, whatever. You're sure to find someone who's an expert in whatever you need. (For example, last month I tweeted about doing my taxes and got a tweet back from a TurboTax expert.) I find new articles all over the web, organically delivered to my virtual doorstep.
A few days ago, a faculty member from Mills College dropped me a line to ask about my blog that she found--duh--via Twitter. Now I have a new connection in the world of women's business education.
What I find puzzling is how few people that I actually know (as in, have seen in person) use Twitter. Everyone knows what it is, but so few acquaintances actually use it, much like Mr. Pogue before a few weeks ago. When I try to explain what Twitter does, I get blank stares. Possibly, Boston is not techno-savvy enough to get Twitter. (Or possibly, I hang out with squares.)
My best Twitter experience was in December, when I caught Modite's Rebecca Thorman twittering about being in Boston. A quick tweet and direct message later and I managed to meet her and Brazen Careerist's Ryan Healy at Flash's Cocktails that evening. And that is one of the triumphs of real social networking: online to offline.
Now start Twittering, and make your own connections.