Why do I Tweet? – Top 5 Reasons for my addiction…

I’ll put it out there… I am addicted to Twitter.

I’d be lost without it…for better or worse I rely heavily on the streams of 140 character updates to get me through a day. A lot of people (friends, family and co-workers) have asked me why I am on Twitter. They typically understand it to be a social platform where people describe daily mundane activities that creates a heightened sense of self worth that caters to b-grade selfless promotion.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t get a kick out of being out there for the world to see if they choose to follow @anthonyspiteri …part of being on Twitter is being able to be somewhat self indulgent and having a mechanism to one up the opposition…but that’s been Facebook’s bread and butter since day dot!

I was a little late getting onto Twitter, but certainly can claim to be on board before it become as entrenched in pop culture as it is today…when I started the concept of a hashtag was virtually unknown! I joined up in November of 2008 just before the US Presidential Election and it was that event that got me interested in the platform and I’ve not looked back since.

So while I don’t get too bothered with people question my reasoning and motives for being active on Twitter, I thought I’d compile a Top 5 list of reasons why I believe Twitter is more than just a medium to tell the world what I had for dinner!

#5 – News and Events

It was a significant moment in history that got me on Twitter and over the last 2-3 years the concept of instant news and information accessible via your Twitter Feed has solidified Twitter’s place in history. What used to take weeks, days, hours and more recently minutes via online news now comes to us instantaneously and together, the world watches for Trends created by ordinary people who post events as they happen. Be it local or global, I feel connected with the worlds events and in that Twitter allows me to share in moments of history.

#4 – Sports

Those the know me know that I am a keen sportsman and extremely passionate when it comes to the clubs and teams I support. Having access to sporting identities Twitter feeds and Club news and events keeps me informed about what’s going on without having to reach out and search…it’s all relevant and instant. One of the great things about Twitter and sports is that you can give your own running commentary on sporting events in real time, and chime in with others watching the same event…The Ashes recently proved to be hashtag hit and the upcoming World Cup in Brazil will be huge on Twitter.

#3 – Digital Footprint

It’s been argued by a few that having an extensive digital footprint is dangerous and causes privacy issues for individuals and exposes people to online fraud. For me, having a digital footprint is a way for me to keep track of life in general…when I filter out all the work related VMware, Hosting and Cloud Tweets I am left with significant events in life that have been preserved in my timeline. With the Twitter Archive being available for download I can go back in time. In 20 years I will have a daily diary of this part of my life…and even through Twitter may not be around then my timeline will be…it’s not exactly an online legacy, but it’s hugely important for me…and moments as shown below…I can share with my kids.

#2 – Community, Social and Brand Awareness

I tossed up between the top two spots as I could argue a case for each of to be the top reasons for my addiction. It’s not hard to see how online communities are so entrenched in everyday society and while some traditionalists see this online world as a negative, in reality its opened up my world to new friendships and relationships. Within a Twitter conversation you can have contributors from any part of the world and followers get to know you through your Twitter name. I must admit, initially it was a little strange meeting Twitter followers face to face (ie in real life) but for the most, because in most cases people I follow and people who follow me share a common interest there is no awkward geeky moments.

I’ve also been able to become more involved in specific communities such as the VMware vExperts and enjoy the benefits of a large passionate community that extends into my working life. In turn what that has allowed me to do is build an online brand. Personal branding is massively important in this day and age and I encourage work mates and friends and acquaintances to look to start building their own brand…I’ve seen and experienced first hand the benefits of an online presence…which extends to other social networks such as LinkedIN, but Twitter is where most opportunities are born, I can ultimately credit my current role to Community based Tweets. This shouldn’t be looked upon as self gratification…don’t miss out on using the medium to help improve your quality of life…it does happen!

#1 – Work and Technology

Coupled with the social and community aspect of Twitter, I learnt early on that Twitter can be a much more direct and useful search tool than Google. It provides a medium to ask technical questions and present answers to questions posted by others. Working in IT makes Twitter the perfect platform for letting the world know what I’m currently working on, what issues I am facing and how I solved problems.

Looking at my Search Cloud from later 2009 you can see that I was heavily involved in Microsoft Technologies, Exchange and Hyper-V and found a great medium for all things Exchange.

Over the last 2-3 years there has been a shift in technologies I work with on a daily basis and that’s reflected in my latest Tweet Cloud.

Following on from the brand aspect above, I have had a number of job enquiries and also have had a couple of job offers come directly through Twitter Direct Messaging…tech employers are savvy enough these days to stalk you on social media and they will check for content posted…both positive and negative, but without question in my case, I feel that the more I post on topics relevant to my field the more I build an always evolving resume.

Without Twitter as a tool for business, I would be lost…it’s become an even more vital communication platform than email for me, and that’s the reason behind this being my number one. There is no doubt I am addicted to Twitter…I’m not ashamed of that fact, and would encourage others to look a little deeper at what Twitter has to offer…it’s a brilliant tool and it’s there for our exploitation! So use it! …and follow @anthonyspiteri