As an author seeking traditional publication, I often see and hear this question: “How big is your following?” I used to think: I have many friends and colleagues who respect me, but I’m not a household name. I’ll never have a large following. It hadn’t dawned on me that the “how big question” was a call to action. I’ve spent the last several weeks discovering why all the buzz about Twitter. Now, I get it. In a month, I’ve developed a following far greater than I would have imagined. And it continues to grow. Read on for a newbie’s take on Twitter.
Elaborate in its simplicity, Twitter is one of the largest social networks on the Internet. According to Twitter’s corporate website, as of December 31, 2015, 320 million users speaking over thirty-five languages visit the site at least monthly. Four in five of those users access Twitter from mobile devices, like cell phones. Furthermore, four in five users are outside the United States.
Why has Twitter become a primary means of connecting people and a doorway of choice to Internet content? Here are its advantages:
1. Instantaneous and concise communication
Twitter revolves around “tweets,” encapsulated tidbits of information that are presented immediately to other users who choose to follow the person who created the tweet. While you would be surprised how much a tweet limited to 140 characters can say, the brevity is a primary strength of the platform, because messages can be read so quickly. Users can also share images with their verbal content, which enables creative types in camp Twitter to stoke the bonfire with compelling messages that immediately drive home their points.
2. Gateway and filter to Internet content
Twitter allows users to link websites to tweets. Currently, users push over one billion webpages monthly to followers! Twitter acts as a news feed that sends content to users who are more likely to care about it, because they’ve already chosen to follow the person sharing the content.
3. Gauges opinion
Users of Twitter collectively determine which information is more important when they “like” or re-tweet content. If you want to find out what people think about your material, post it to Twitter. Its analytics tell each user how each of their posts is performing. If you want to discover what other people find engaging, a sidebar of popular items identifies what is “trending.” If you have something of value to say, as judged by the “Twittersphere,” your message will go as far as its engagement will take it, whether or not you have a sizeable following.
4. Finds the type of people you are looking for
Whether you are a “creative” looking for your next customer, an activist promoting a cause, or someone in search of likeminded friends, Twitter allows you to search profiles and content to find your target audience.
5. Broad scope
Twitter has compiled some astounding numbers, with worldwide reach. If you have any product or information you’d like to introduce to a large audience, there’s no better forum in which to share it!
In my next post, I’ll describe how I went from sixty followers to 1,700 in only one month without paying a dime. In preparation, consider this: While leaders sometimes follow, those who follow can also lead! A “follower” is not always a follower.