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There are many people offering free Twitter icons. I like this one.

Hi. This is Laurie again. Allow me to digress for just one blog post. In our last conversation, we established that we’re all wonderful “fine aged wines” over here on the better side of 50, and that we’re now a force with which to contend in social media networking. But I know you’re dying to ask me a question. “Why start with Twitter?” you ask. “Isn’t that sort of counter-intuitive for someone whose brain is slowing down—like you, Laurie? For goodness sake, some days you can’t even find your keys. How do you expect to keep up with the mad swirl of activity that a Tweetchat can become?” Yes, I’ll admit you have a point. I’ll have to admit that when I’m in the middle of a chat that’s truly cooking, it sometimes feels as though I’m in the middle of a cocktail party on steroids. It’s like being dragged through a maelstrom, trying to catch and react to as many ideas as possible, before they disappear into the deep dark hole of distant Twitter history, which is about 2 seconds ago. (by the way, that is exactly why I use plug-in’s such as , Tweetchat, which I mentioned in the last blog and Tweetdeck , which I can mention later if you ask me to.) Of course, the simple answer is that it’s my favorite social media format. Period. I do, however, have four reasons that I use to explain (or justify) its fascination for me:

A Confession—I Just Like It!

1) I’m an adrenalin junky. I’ll admit it. For me, Twitter is just plain fun. I think adrenalin is good for my brain, to some extent. The sheer pace of a tweet chat stimulates my body to produce adrenalin. You may or may not think that’s a good thing. I suppose the jury’s out on that, but my honest opinion is, “Mostly good, unless I overdo it.”

Do you remember the movie Short Circuit? The charming star of the show was Number 5–a smart robot that passed through a process that left him, arguably, a sentient being. The biggest challenge for his new friends was to keep him occupied, because he had an insatiable need: “Need Input….Many fragments. Some large, some small.” I have the kind of brain that likes to be stimulated, and it kind of likes the feeling of being bombarded with “input.” I’m convinced that this activity keeps my synapses firing and constantly builds new synaptic links. I don’t have any scientific data to back me up on this, but I definitely feel it, and to be honest, I like that feeling.

Great For Brainstorming

2) The second answer is similar, but qualitatively different than the first. My mind naturally thinks in “bursts,”, so Twitter is a perfect place for me to brainstorm. Random mental stimulation is actually not enough for me. I like quality input. I especially like to be stimulated with clever repartee and interesting ideas. When I’m “on Twitter”, I usually end up laughing a lot, because I’ve noticed that when people are communicating that fast, they tend to get funnier, and end up tweeting hilariously off-the-cuff comments. There are also pictures to look at, articles to read, video’s to watch, music to listen to, all while having six conversations at once. Most of the people I tweet with are smart, curious and engaging. Some of my best ideas come after a twitter session.

There are also times, as in right now when I’m writing this article, when I need to “rein the thoughts in”, but I’m grateful for a format in which I can let my thoughts run a little bit wild, like a little kid taking a walk down the street. As an adult, I tend to focus on my goal of getting from one end of the block to the other. In the same one-block walk, a three year old might notice the leaves in the puddle, the ripe raspberries on the neighbor’s bushes, the friendly dog, what a neat sound her feet make on the side walk when she skips, and how funny her tongue feels when she touches it on the inside of her cheek. Twitter lets my inner three-year-old look play with ideas.

Lets You Stay Aware of World Events

3) On a more serious note, I keep Twitter open on my cellphone, because it can be my “ears to the world”. I first heard about the following events from Twitter:

a) The sonic boom in Pierce County during President Obama’s visit to Seattle a few weeks ago. When 911 in Pierce County was disabled, people in the area were still tweeting about it. This reminds me of what my father experienced when he was a ham radio operator. If there was a disaster anywhere in the world, the ham radio people would be able to keep lines of communication open in order to help the people of the area.

b) The latest oilrig explosion. I knew about it when happened, I knew there was one person missing, and then I knew that he was found, but injured. And I also knew, for what it’s worth, what people were saying to each other about it. As you can imagine, there were some examples of heated public discourse.

c) Rob Blogojovich’s verdict.

In each of these cases, I was able to follow a hashtag (see my last blog post) in order to find out what ordinary people were saying, as well as what the news channels were saying (yes, their reporters also tweet).

Unparalleled Opportunities to Improve Customer Relations

4) And on another serious note, if you happen to be connected with a business, here is a quote from an article which highlights exactly why it might be wise for you to be involved with Twitter:

• “Web hosting outages are proving the power of Twitter as a real-time customer communications tool, with Los Angeles hosting provider Media Temple serving as the test case. When Media Temple experienced an extended outage in its grid hosting platform in early March, it was surprised to find that frustrated customers were seeking information on Twitter, rather than the company’s status blog or forums.”

The term “tweetstorm” has been coined to describe just this sort of situation. A tweetstorm can signal a situation that needs to be handled. But a tweetstorm can also be a very very good thing for your business. Witness the BlendTek story. BlendTek’s brilliant series of video’s, “Will It Blend” has become the stuff of social media marketing legend. (I especially like this one, in which Tom Dickson blends a vuvuzela).  (If the link doesn’t work, you can cut and paste this directly into your browser: They are still the most-watched commercials on YouTube.

If you have a whole lot of people talking to each other about your business, would you rather ignore them or participate in the conversation? It really boils down to customer service. You actually do want people to do your advertising and quality control and product development for you, and you do want to know what they’re saying so that you can tailor your marketing and customer service and product development to their needs.

I’m going to end this conversation now, but let’s put a bookmark in it. I promised you an article on how to use replies and direct messages to participate in Twitter conversations at a deeper level. And I promised that I would follow my friend Joe’s progress as he tweeks his social media presence. That will be my next post. I Promise. In the meantime, Happy Tweeting!

By the way, the twitter bird above comes from: