What is Twitter used for?  Well, that question greatly depends on who you are, what you do, and what you want to do.  In my opinion, generally Twitter is not for the average person.  It is a great connecting tool, but it is more for connecting businesses and people together.  It isn’t for a simple Facebook status update; save that for Facebook.  When I read Twitter, I don’t particularly care what people are doing, but more so what they are reading, how they are learning, or how a business is developing.  I try to learn from the people I follow.

When I first heard about Twitter, I assumed it was taking the Facebook status and expanding upon it.  However, after using it for awhile, I realized it was nothing like that but it was much more.  I “follow” people and businesses that share good news about my interests.  For example, I follow Google Webmasters, which is a group of Google Employees who post updates about their Webmasters site.  I also follow many people in the affiliate marketing industry who share information that I find valuable.

Now, do I need to post or share anything on Twitter?  Of course not. I can be satisified with its service by simply “following” people and businesses that interest me.  However, I do share things every once in awhile that I find interesting.  It is more a way for me to save articles, ideas, or topics that interest me, and see what the rest of the world thinks.  I have tweeted 641 times over the last few years, mostly giving my thoughts or posting something I find interesting.

I am currently following 78 people.  As of right now, this is more than enough, and I think it is about the right amount (although it does depend on how active each person you follow is).  I find that many people have 200+ active followers.  Surely they aren’t using it for the same purpose as myself.  With my 78 followers, I spend around 20-30 minutes a day reading through their tweets and the articles that they post.  With many more, it would become a massive distraction as I could sit hours reading through it all.  People with 200+ followers likely don’t read all the tweets and really miss out on what I consider one of the main points of Twitter.  With that said, businesses who have no interest in reading on Twitter but more just connecting with their customers, I can see why they would follow anyone and everyone (because they aren’t reading tweets, they are posting tweets).  Their whole point is to post information about their company for others to see.

Here is an example of a tweet I would read:

mattcutts – Matt Cutts
New blog post: Goal: getting email under control http://goo.gl/fb/9YD1P

Matt Cutts is the head webspam engineer at Google.  He runs the Google Webmaster Youtube channel and also posts a lot of cool stuff on his blog.  Because of this, I follow him.  The above post on his blog is something I wouldn’t have seen if I didn’t follow him on Twitter.

Here is an example of something I’d tweet:

pjkcards – Patrick Kelly
Google: Scale Changes Everything (Forbes) – a great 4 page read:http://t.co/dSGaIy1

After reading the above article, I decided to tweet it to the 183 people that currently follow me.  Some of the 183 people are businesses that I follow, others are people in the same industry who may have found something I posted interested, and a few are likely just spammers.

So, that is what I think of Twitter.  It is useful for businesses to connect with customers, or people to follow companies/people that interest them.  With that said, what do you use Twitter for?

Follow me on Twitter here.