Ah, yes: the simple question that greets a Twitter user each time you sign into your account. But Twitter today is about a whole lot more than straightforward status updates on “what’s happening.”
Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has evolved from a small website into a global information resource that boasts more than 106 million users sending out an estimated 55 million Tweets per day. Twitter users can now do everything from discuss the latest news to ask for personal advice to build an online fan-base.
Here are a few benefits of Twitter that might have slipped past you while you tweeted about what you had for lunch. We guarantee there’s a lot more you can accomplish in 140 characters or less than you first thought:
1. Help me find a job
Twitter is an excellent tool for job seekers. Because it involves public networking (unlike Facebook, where networking is private) it’s much easier for job hunters to reach out to companies of interest. While on the hunt, be sure to:
- Follow both leaders in your industry and potential employers. Retweet any interesting information they might share—this can help attract their attention!
- Describe yourself in your 140-character bio using keywords that will appeal to desired employers
- Include links in your profile to your website, blog, or other online profiles such as LinkedIn
And check out these helpful Twitter apps for those seeking a job:
TweetMyJobs – Subscribe to your desired job channels, and have new openings texted to your phone via Twitter
TweetBeep – Twitter’s version of Google Alerts. Sign up for job postings to be delivered to your email
2. Give me personalized career advice
Searching for insight into a desired field? Look no further: Twitter offers a variety of experts who offer valuable career advice. @Keppie_Careers, @heatherhuhman, and @AskAManager are some of our favorites!
Moreover, Twitter Lists will let you find even more authorities on your industry of interest. Lists enable you follow many similar experts at a time, rather than just one individual.
3. Get me access to experts or celebrities
Yearning to eyeball the latest developments in integrative medicine (@DrWeil), or perhaps just scrutinize which designer dress Kim K. will be wearing for her upcoming wedding (@KimKardashian)? You’re in the perfect spot!
Twitter offers an unprecedented amount of access to well-known personalities of all kinds. And without question, one of the most fascinating features of Twitter is its success revolutionizing communication between the famous and their fans.
Got a burning desire to suggest a topic for @andersoncooper’s new talk show, or perhaps compliment @LadyGaga on her latest performance? Want a quote from a leading health expert on the the obesity epidemic? Many busy, famous people prove to be more responsive on Twitter than email (good luck there), and there’s a chance you’ll get a personal reply!
Twellow is an excellent Twitter app for finding like-minded luminaries who matter to you. Taking a cue from the Yellow Pages, Twellow indexes Twitter user profiles into a variety of searchable categories, ranging from business (@reuters, @suzeormanshow) to fashion (@proenzaschouler, @timesfashion) to celebrity (@stevemartintogo, @SeinTime).
4. Keep me updated on current events
True to its moniker as a powerful social force, Twitter played a large part earlier this year in the organization of Egypt’s revolution against Hosni Mubarak’s regime. During the recent Japanese earthquake, it also served as a lifeline between rescuers and those in need of aid.
So if you’re eager to learn the latest about the debt limit fallback plan, or the most up-to-date info on Casey Anthony’s release, Twitter’s got your back! Simply type a news topic into the search field (hashtag or no hashtag), and you’ll get up-to-the-minute headlines appearing before your eyes.
If your issue of interest is a popular one, you’ll also find relevant keywords and hashtags under the “Trends” header of your Twitter homepage. You can also search “News” under the “Who to Follow” tab, and find the Twitter handles of all the major news outlets.
5. Let me join in conversations
Itching to know the latest tech break-through, or perhaps just keen to gossip with fellow fans about last night’s “True Blood?” You’ve come to the right place!
Type a topic (again, hashtag or no hashtag) into the Twitter search bar, and your screen will instantly populate with current conversations on the subject—ready for you to jump in. More formally, organized “Twitter chats” are an ideal way to connect with others in real time, and a great means of expanding your social network. (Check out our Twitter chat tutorial to get you started.) Keep an eye out for the Daily Muse Twitter chat, coming soon!
Have fun exploring, and happy Tweeting!