We’ve decided to celebrate the sixth birthday of our dear friend Twitter, by creating a list of our six most favorite things about the platform. Of course we might miss one of the reasons you cherish the platform, so be sure to note yours in the comments below!
- Hashtags – If you’re familiar with Twitter at all, you probably recognize this symbol: #. Using hashtags started as an easy way to categorize tweets about the same topic. Now hashtags have blossomed into a part of the twitter language that helps add clarity and color to 140 characters. We also love hashtags because they make Twitter chats and live Twitter streams possible. It’s so much fun to be able to join a real-time conversation with people in your industry or those with the same interests. Use hashtags.org or What the trend? to research current hashtags.
- 140-Character Limit – Okay, okay, we know it can be tough to say all you want to say in 140 characters. But that’s the beauty of this platform. Tweets become art because of the ways in which people use the limited space. If you’re interested in seeing some of the more creative uses of the character limit, check out Fast Company’s list of the 10 Most Creative People on Twitter.
- The Retweet (RT) - Once you’ve acquainted yourself with Twitter, you learn pretty quickly the meaning of RT, because it’s the easiest way to share content you like, without having to (necessarily) put much thought into it. The retweet is used by Tweeps to re-broadcast information to a new group of followers, making the content’s reach grow exponentially. It not only spreads the content, but it also gives credit to the person who created the tweet to begin with. Some use the term MT (modified tweet) if they change the tweet from its original form.
- Market Research & News - From our perspective Twitter is a great resource for learning and researching current trends, consumer perceptions, pinpointing influencers and checking out what competitors are up to. Here’s a great blog about using Twitter in this way. Twitter is also one of the best news sources around. Most newspapers and online sites tweet out their content (for free) as do most bloggers. Instead of referencing your Google Reader or visiting all of your favorite news sites you can follow them on Twitter for updates and links to specific articles. This way you wont have to sift through all of their content before finding the one story that interests you and the main point is summarized in 140 characters! Just in case you miss a tweet, Twitter is now sending out weekly recap emails, which according to Twitter’s blog, feature the “most engaging Tweets seen by the people you follow…”
- SocialTV - The workplace watercooler has moved online with real-time chats about television shows happening via Twitter. Now you don’t have to wait until the next day to comment on a celeb’s fashion at an award show or an out-of-the-blue plot twist on your favorite drama. Instead, you can sign into Twitter and dish with your followers and even a larger twitter community in tandem with the show. This is gold for advertisers. Why? Because now not only do we have the opportunity to create more engaging content based on live feedback, but we can also find out which programs are most talked about, who’s talking about them and when. Check out the Bluefin Labs blog for Social TV insights and analytics.
- An Amazing Community – The Twitter world is an amazing community. Mark Schaefer’s The Tao of Twitter does an amazing job of summarizing the genuine conversations exchanged and eventual relationships created via Twitter. It’s a community based on authenticity, grounded in the laws of Karma. When you follow someone, they usually follow you back. When you retweet someone, they usually thank you and at some point return the favor. Followers not only use retweets and @mentions to share their favorite content, but what other community has a day dedicated to recommending some of your favorite followers? Follow Friday, #FF, is the perfect way to reward some of your followers for sharing your content or just for being fun to chat with.
Happy 6th Birthday Twitter!
What are some of your favorite things about Twitter?