Seven Questions to Ask Yourself Before Joining Twitter

By Charlie Adams *Guest Author (Refer Terms ) You've heard plenty of people talk about it, you've done some research on it, and no...

By Charlie Adams*Guest Author (Refer Terms)

You've heard plenty of people talk about it, you've done some research on it, and now you want to jump on the bandwagon and join Twitter. Before you commit yourself to constantly writing 140 characters or less, ask yourself the following seven questions.

1. Do I really need to join another social network?Socail media-Optimized
If you are already using Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google +, Pinterest or Tumblr—or a combination of them all—you must first ask yourself if you really need to add another social network to your list. Twitter could end up becoming another place to waste your time and another place to cause anxiety when you can't think of anything great to tweet.

2. Whom should I follow?
The whole point of Twitter is to follow people. By following them, you will be able to see their tweets and either re-tweet or comment. If you join Twitter without having any idea of whom to follow, you won't be actively social. Try to think of people you know on Twitter and follow them. You may also want to consider following some of your favorite celebrities or organizations.

3. Do I want to be followed by random people?
Unfortunately on Twitter, anybody can follow you. This means that anybody who follows you can see your tweets. Unlike Facebook, you don't have to accept them in order for them to start following you. If you want to keep your tweets private, you should really consider if Twitter is a good idea.

You do have the option to block your followers, so if someone you don't know follows you, you can block them so they don't see any of your tweets. This is an option to keep strangers at bay, but you will manually have to go through and block those you want blocked.

4. Will it benefit me in any way?
Joining Twitter can have some perks, but it depends on how you use it and whom you follow. If you follow restaurants, you may receive discounts or specials available only to their Twitter followers. If you follow sports teams, you may learn about a new trade before anyone else.

Along with discounts and news, you can also find events that people are promoting and articles or blog posts that people have shared.

Some companies also use Twitter for customer service. Send questions directly to a company's Twitter feed, and you will usually hear back in a timely fashion. This beats waiting on hold for hours at a time trying to talk to a representative.

5. Do I have time to learn how to use it?
While Twitter is relatively simple to use, it will take some time getting used to. You have to try and keep everything you tweet under 140 characters or less. You also have to learn the lingo, such as how to use hashtags and learning what exactly an "RT" is.

There are plenty of articles and blog posts on the Internet that can give you a basic Twitter tutorial. Plus, once you've gotten the hang of it, you'll be able to tweet in your sleep.

6. Can I afford to obsess over another social network?
No matter which social network you join, it always becomes an obsession when you first join it. You are spending time learning how it works, trying to find people to follow, wondering why certain people are following you, and reading what other users are tweeting. You may also spend a lot of time thinking of something to tweet, or you may just start tweeting everything. Before you join, you need to consider if right now is a good time for a distraction. If you can't afford to lose focus, hold off on joining Twitter until you can.

7. Will I use it?
Don't join Twitter to simply join Twitter. You need to ask yourself if you are really going to take the time to use it. If the answer to this question is no, why bother taking the time to set up an account and go through the initial process to never use it again after that first day?

If you do think you will use it, then go ahead, sign up and start tweeting.

*About the author: Charlie Adams is a tech guru who works as a consultant to telecommunications companies in the Las Vegas area. To ensure all his drafts and proposals meet a high grammatical standard he instantly proofs his work using a grammar checker. He often suggests american accent classes to his international colleagues and clients.

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