Twitter is a versatile platform used by many people to share ideas, stories, and pictures, and to learn about what is going on in the world. It’s been readily adopted by millenials, Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers, but not by as many baby boomers. Admittedly, some seniors and those south of age 50, don’t get what makes Twitter so popular. You may be one of them.
Consider that Twitter averages 304 million monthly active users and has changed the way people communicate and share information around the world. The platform is so powerful that it was used to spark several uprisings that led to the overthrow of dictators in the Middle East. People leverage Twitter to organize rallies and stay current with developing news. This is the power that Twitter holds in today’s world.
The most significant difference between Twitter and other social sharing programs is that it limits the user to only 140 characters in each post they create. When the user creates a Tweet, they have the option to include links to images, videos, or articles. Think of it as using Post-it notes to communicate. This is the essence of Twitter.
I’m all for using technology to make life easier. For me, the true value of Twitter is the way it gives users the ability to stay abreast of current events without having to read dozens of newspapers and magazines. It’s an easy way to stay up-to-date on your favorite columnists or topics because most reporters, news people and bloggers use Twitter to let their audience know when something important is happening or they have something to say.
Creating an account takes just a few minutes. Twitter guides you through the process and even has small tutorials to help you learn how to use it. Once you are on Twitter, you have control over what you see and how you see it. For example, you can follow one or more people to see what they are posting, or, as it is commonly known, Tweeting. Or, you can follow as many people as you wish.
You can also create lists to organize those you are following. For example, let’s say you like baseball or politics. You can group other Twitter users or influencers who share your interests into lists so it’s easier to find what those people are sharing about that topic. Twitter gives you the flexibility to organize your lists as you see fit.
When you log into Twitter, you may notice a list of topics that are trending. These are topics that a lot of people are discussing or searching for by a feature called a hashtag. A hashtag is a way of identifying different topics in order to search for tweets about that topic. It consists of a pound sign, followed by a word or phrase, like this: #twitterforseniors. You can place the hashtag anywhere in your post. Generally, it is placed at the end of a Tweet.
To relate this to our Post-it note analogy, if you were to label each Post-it note on the fridge with a category on the bottom of the note, you could then quickly organize them by category. This powerful feature is like knowing the secret password that opens the door so that you and others can join the discussion about any topic.
Having a Twitter account doesn’t have to be intimidating. Rather, it’s an easy way to communicate and learn about what’s going on in the world in short bites. It puts you in control of who you follow and how. And, with the power of the hashtag, you can stay up to date on news and other interests with ease. So throw away those Post-it notes and get tweeting!