Most of you reading this probably have Facebook profiles. Facebook has more than 700 million users currently globally. Of those profiles just over 4.2 million are South African. Twitter has over 300 million users globally and over 1 million South African users (according to figures released in June at the Social Media World Forum Conference in Cape Town). If you ask me only about 100,000 of those SA Twitter users are actually active on Twitter (although some might disagree with me). Fact of the matter is, Social Media has truly changed the shape of the world as we know, how we as humans share information and interact with each other.
I started using the popular micro-blogging service Twitter 2 years ago. At first I didn’t really know what I was doing, but in time I learned all the tricks and found out how Twitter actually works. Over time I became more and more addicted to Twitter (even more than I was already addicted to Facebook). I decided to share my knowledge with a Twitter Basics blog post (which was quite popular back in the day). After being dumped by my then girlfriend in May 2010 I started tweeting and interacting with people on Twitter more and more. In August 2010 I started meeting people that I interact with on Twitter (@wasbeer, @sparklez23, @PsychoButterfly were the first folks I met at Oppikoppi. Sexy. Crooked. Teeth last year). Since then I’ve met more and more people via Twitter. To date I’ve probably met over 60 people. You are probably asking yourself this question: “Addict Much?”. Despite all this I still get some of my non-tweeting friends who tell me to get off my phone when I’m having a pint or two with them at the local pub. Most of them say things like “I have Facebook, I don’t need Twitter” or “Twitter is boring: ‘I am going to bed’, ‘I am going to take a dump'”. Complete nonsense, just because they don’t understand the power of social media or because they’ve been sucked into the Facebook bubble completely.
Today, I will be listing 3 reasons why Twitter is not a useless Social Network, here they are:
- Twitter is a great way to make new friends: Being a 34 year old single person who knows a lot of people but has space for plenty more in his hectic blogging / music festival hopping / partying schedule Twitter has been an excellent way to meet new people in my area and festivals and places that I go to. I met @BaasDeBeer in October or November last year and we started hanging out. We only exchanged phone numbers in January this year, since we did not need to, we always Tweet eachother. I also met @LadyRockerSA who has turned into a real life friend. She shares the same passion I have for SA Music and festivals and she has great sense of humor too. They are not the only 2 Twitter friends turned real life friends in my realm, but they are definitely the 2 best examples that I can think of right now. People like @BraaiBoy and @missbronni also come to mind.
- Twitter is a great networking tool: I’ve also met my share of Twitter celebrities like @watkykjy, @rudi_cronje, @bangersandnash, @texxonfire, @LiamLynchPhoto and others over the last year. Besides this I’ve interacted and met numerous, artists, radio station employees (mostly from @TuksFM1072), bloggers, designers, copywriters and other professionals via Twitter. I’ve gotten tips on all kinds of things from them. It has truly made my blogging life easier and it’s been a fun ride all the way. This networking tool has enabled me to explore my passion for SA Music, Blogging and Photography.
- Twitter is a great crowd-sourcing / research / recommendation tool: So you want to know what people think of a certain subject that you want to blog about but you don’t know who to ask? Or you are trying to get the real truth about something you read in the news? Or you need to find out which restaurants / pubs / clubs / toy shops might be in your city that you don’t know about? Or you need to know who is winning a football or rugby match that you’re not able to watch? Well, the answer to all these questions is: “Ask your Twitter followers”. You might think I’m crazy but it actually works. People ask for recommendations about restaurants, scores in sport matches, opinions on which cartoon character or movie character could beat up Justin Bieber or Edward Cullen, the nearest police station, if there is bad traffic on a road they need to travel on and various other things all the time. In one case earlier in the week, 2 girls from Port Elizabeth got lost in Hillbrow in Johannesburg and asked for directions via Twitter. The Jozi Twitter users guided them to safety and they got out of Hillbrow unharmed.