Continuing a series of three articles re use of Twitter – Why do I use twitter? What are the benefits of using twitter?
In the first article I referenced twitter as a community – perhaps more accurately as providing a platform to support an infinite number of communities. However these are communities without regulation – there is no sign up fee and there are no rules. There is no membership per se – you voluntarily contribute and voluntarily receive (by following). People are using the platform to share and exchange information – in a form of online collaboration.
As an entrepreneur and consultant working in the areas of KM, Collaboration, semantic web – twitter facilitates my networking effectively with people all around the world who have a say in, or an interest in, these areas. I will establish my credibility with this changing and evolving group based on my contributions e.g. through responding to general queries, commenting on developments, posting my own throughts and approaches. If my contributions are not worthwhile the market looks after that – I will simply not be followed.
The personal element of twitter is important. Search engines such as google and bing are well capable of returning a great deal of information in response to refined queries. Placing questions in specific fora often delivers answers to specific technical questions. However as a twitter user I am being prompted by people who are active in my areas of interest – to look at new material, to participate in debate, to respond to queries. The personalisation of the information is a key element in the attractiveness of twitter.
Working out of a base in Ireland twitter provides a very easy way for me to stay in touch with people working in the same area across the globe. For actual projects I use wikis and various collaboration tools. But for day to day staying in touch on relevant research topics twitter fits the bill.