Every time I’ve written about Twitter (or FriendFeed or most other social media) I see comments left saying ‘Twitter is a waste of time’.
My response is simple – yes it is.
Twitter is a waste of time…. unless you use it in a way that isn’t.
- Twitter can be a waste of time just like blogging can be a waste of time.
- Twitter can be a waste of time just like going to conferences and talking to people face to face can be a waste of time.
- Twitter can be a waste of time just like other micro-blogging/life streaming/social messaging tools like Plurk and FriendFeed.
- Twitter can be a waste of time just like talking on the phone can be a waste of time.
I would argue that there’s never been a type of communication invented that can’t be used in a way that is a waste of time.
The key is the way you use it.
Twitter can be beneficial to bloggers in many ways (I’ve written 9 ways that Twitter benefits me here) but the key is to work out how you want it to benefit you and to go about using the tool (and it’s nothing more than a tool) in a way that takes you a step closer to it paying off in those ways.
If you’re just on Twitter because everyone else is and you’re using it in an unfocused way then you’re unlikely to see it as anything more than a waste of time.
I would also add that I don’t think Twitter is ever going to be something that everyone should use.
The way people talk about Twitter (or any other type of social media tool) sometimes reminds me of how people used to talk about Blogging.
Four or Five years ago I heard people speaking about blogging as though it’s the answer to every problem that a company or individual might have with their online presence. It was claimed that blogging could do almost everything and fix any issue you faced. The truth is that blogging can be great but it’s not right for every situation. The same is true for Twitter.
It takes a certain type of personality to click with Twitter and it will only ever meet some of your needs and even then, only if you’re smart about it.
If not, it could well be a waste of time!
A Question to Ask about Your Use of Any Medium
When looking at Twitter, or any medium for that matter, the question to ponder early on is ‘what are my goals?’ Once you have them nailed down you then have a framework to begin to think about how you’ll use it and how you measure whether it’s a worthwhile medium to use.
So what are your goals for Twitter?