What is Twitter?

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  • December 3, 2013

What’s the most common question you’re asked when you meet someone new?

I know what it is – “what do you do?” It’s the same question I am asked and as soon I mention social media there are a number of questions which follow shortly after. One of those questions is “what is Twitter?”

I generally answer with a question – have you looked at Twitter. My explanation is very different for those people who have looked at Twitter and those who haven’t. It is a really hard concept to explain to someone who has never looked at Twitter and for those who have looked at Twitter I have to describe in a different way.

This short video explains the intention of Twitter and help me realise something. Understanding Twitter has to happen in 3 stages for most people.

1. Understand Twitter

First there is understanding what Twitter is designed to do.

2. Using Twitter, the technology and terminology

Secondly you have to understand what you’re looking at, why it appears and how to use this tool to communicate and participate in conversations.

3. Using Twitter, the strategy

Thirdly – how and why would I use it.


Take a look at this video to understand Twitter.

I love this quote from Jen Story at Anthill – “Sometimes, using Twitter can feel like trying to read a poem in a room full of primary school children learning to play recorder.” I see this as the biggest challenge.

Social media is designed to bombard users with relevant and useful information, but our brains aren’t designed to process that much information. Our brains are designed to filter what we don’t need and digest only what we do need. So when social media is delivering so much targeted news we can feel like we’re wasting a lot of time, feeling of distracted and overwhelmed if we don’t manage it and use it strategically. Learning why and how to use Twitter effectively is very important to avoid wasting time and more importantly … becoming invisible.

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