All A-Twitter

by Dan Ward

Our blog has been all a-twitter lately, and who can blame us. Jon Stewart, Leonard Pitts, Helen A.S. Popkin and dozens of others have spent time over the last week bashing and mocking Twitter, the “micro-blogging” site that limits posts to 140 characters or less.

Having just joined Twitter myself in the last month, I can understand their anger and mockery, even as I disagree with it. Many people, unfortunately including many of our elected representatives, tend to use Twitter simply to answer the question, “What are you doing?” – often at inappropriate times.

If that were all that the million-plus Tweeple out there were doing, I’d agree with Pitts, Popkin, et al. … what a monumental waste of time! But the people I’ve been following have been using Twitter to do much more than that.

On one typical day last week, I heard from a reporter asking for advice to share with a college class, learned about the drop in sales at a local theme park, read an announcement about new businesses locating in Orlando, capitalized on a query from a reporter on behalf of a tourism client, got the latest bad news on jobless rates in the U.S. and Florida, and posted a story about, of all things, Twitter.

Sure, I also got the latest headlines from “The Onion” and tweeted my “Seinfeld Quote of the Day.” (“I’m out there Jerry, and I’m lovin’ it!” seemed appropriately themed.) As Jerry might say, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

The truth is that Twitter can be a very effective communications tool, both for work and for play. It’s not just about what you’re doing, but what your clients are doing, what those in industries you follow are doing, and what those you are trying to educate and influence may be doing.

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