I originally joined Twitter as a way to keep up with friends. I saw it as kind of like Facebook: a way to learn random, useless-yet-interesting tidbits from people I know.
But now a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people use it as a successful marketing and contact-making tool. And I'm flummoxed by this.
I understand the basics of Twitter: join and post 140-character blips about what you're doing or thinking. You can "follow" other people, and read their own posts, and they can follow you. Simple enough. Kind of like Facebook status updates.
Then I started following tweets (Twitter-speak for those 140-character posts) from people whose blogs I follow. They tweet about stuff they've posted, thoughts, etc.
Other than my real-world friends, mostly I follow people in the publishing world (like Janet Reid , Nathan Bransford and LittleBrown) or booksellers (FLWBooks, AtriaBooks) or writers, but also a few other random ones like The Pioneer Woman, DaMomma and Foodimentary.
And now I see people are carrying on complicated Twitter-conversations (I'm sure there's a Twitter-speak word for this but I don't know it)..oh wait I think it's @Replies, which is where your tweet is directed at someone specific (I.e., @acvollers) but everyone can still see it. And then there are DMs, short for direct messages. Oh and apparently you can get Twitter to e-mail a person who follows you with a message from you.
Guilty admission: I just checked my @replies for the first time today. Ever. And felt totally stupid because people have been @replying me and I wasn't aware. Now I'm feeling a little bit blonde. Or old.
And then you also get "followed" by random people you don't know. Of course you can block them if they look weird. Which is nice, because a lot of them look weird.
Luckily, one of the random people I don't know who started following me on Twitter (and doesn't look weird) tweeted this interesting post about how to find people to follow on Twitter. I also found this article on Twitter for bloggers. This one about 17 different ways to use Twitter is especially helpful.
So I'm going to try to utilize Twitter more successfully. It would be a New Year's resolution if I made those.
You can follow me (and @reply me and DM me and...ok, I've run out of Twitter-lingo) here. I also run my tweets in the right-hand sidebar of this blog. So, tell me who you are and we can follow each other. The nice thing is, in reality that's not as creepy and voyeuristic as it sounds.