Why Twitter hero image

This skeptic is beginning to like and use Twitter more, but why?

Let me start with a little confession: I've been a little bit of a skeptic when it comes to the "microblogging" platform Twitter. I think I just saw it as a social media platform much lamer than the likes of Facebook or Google+. After all, what can you do with a measly 140 characters, right?

I'm coming around, though, and I actually enjoy using it now. Let me share some of my reasoning with you.

Short can be good

You know how I mentioned I didn't think you could do much with 140 characters? Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there's a reason people often prefer things to be "short and sweet" and what I originally thought was a weakness could actually be one of Twitter's strengths. On other social media platforms, like Facebook, you may get long posts. Sure, you could skip those longer posts (and I often do), but there's something to be said for the ability to quickly get the gist of lots of information.

Tailorable news stream

This is arguably one of Twitter's best features. What you see in your timeline (basically like Facebook's Newsfeed, or where you see what the people you follow post) is very much determined by the organizations and people you decide to follow. As you follow more things that pique your interest, your timeline will become more interesting to you. If you're interested in technology (and we imagine you are if you're reading this blog), you can follow a bunch of tech-related Twitter accounts, like @androidcentral. You may be able to tell a lot about a person by what they choose to have appear in their timeline.

Some sites, like Android Central, will show links to published stories on their respective Twitter accounts. If you stay on top of your Twitter timeline, you'll be able to see the latest published stories so you know what to expect when you get there. Of course, not all sites will tweet links to all the stories they publish, but Twitter is a great way to find news and other content you want to read.

See what other people think about certain topics

We all think a little differently. I really enjoy seeing what other people think and have to say about various topics. Twitter makes it easy to sort through the vast marketplace of ideas.

To see what other people are saying about specific topics, all you have to do is search for them. Just be sure to put a pound sign in front of the term. For example, let's go back to the World Cup, which had it's own hashtag, #WorldCup2014. You could search this hashtag, then get an idea what Twitter users were saying, often as it happened.

What were people saying about #WorldCup2014 anyway? Stuff like this

Twitter see what others think

You know, I miss the World Cup, too. Hurry, next time.

Different clients make Twitter even more customizable

I came to like Twitter even more as I played around with different Twitter clients, or apps, to find the best ones out there. Some apps, like Talon, look really nice and are pretty easy to use. Other apps, like Tweedle, focus on making it as easy as possible to tweet. Apps such as Plume add some great functionality, like the ability to filter out tweets regarding topics you're tired of hearing about. The client you use may add personality to Twitter and make the user experience even better. For me, that adds a lot to the joy of using Twitter.

An easy way to reach out

Twitter makes it easy for CEOs and higher-ups to let people know what's going on in their organizations. It also makes it easy for ordinary people to reach out to said higher-ups to ask questions or share feedback. There's no guarantee that you'll receive a response from them, but somebody in the company will probably at least read your tweets.

Twitter companies and their publics react

Take this as an example: I asked @JohnLegere, the ever-entertaining CEO of T-Mobile USA, about LTE in my hometown. Now T-Mobile will know that there is at least one person there who wants LTE from the company.

It's a game

Although I still don't feel like I have much to say on Twitter, sometimes I make a game out of seeing how I can type what I want to say in 140 characters or less. Am I weird? Definitely. Do I have fun? You know it.

What do you think?

These certainly aren't the only reasons to like Twitter, but they're some of the things I like most about it. What do you like (or dislike) about Twitter?

 

Reader comments

Why should you use Twitter?

104 Comments

One thing is for sure if anything is going on in the world and you need to know about it Twitters the place it will come to first.

I use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus they all serve there individual purpose based on what you personally value.

In this order Facebook, Twitter, then Google Plus. That's how it is for me. Twitter is very enjoyable.

From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App

I'm the most technical person I know, am 24 years old, and have no inclination to learn about Twitter. There's nothing I can't do without Twitter in my life, its just something that you can choose to sink time into.

Posted via Android Central App

Ima skeptic myself, only use it cause certain company's only have their menus on twitter not on the net(things that r updated daily). But beyond that I just don't care I guess.

Posted via the Android Central App

Not far enough away...I wish it was every 30 years or so and be really special, but that is just me hating on soccer

You think you've got it bad, try hating football and living in England! It's bloody inescapable!

Posted via Android Central App

people were just as Crazy here about the World Cup. Though you should see hockey season, all the Toronto Maple Leaf fans crying. I'm sure that I'm not the only tech enthusiast that can't be bothered with sports..
So yes i am the Canadian that dislikes Hockey, But the beer is great.

Posted via Android Central App

God if I ever heard a reason to move to England that would be it. You guys should just switch apartments.

/hockey fan
//Curling too!
///screw soccer

Lol even in Spain you won't be able to live or leave the country in just one piece :D

Posted via Android Central App

What is that twitter app?

Also, I was never much for twitter because all it was to me is basically a group text that you can join at any time.

Which is what's great about it! I think of it as a constantly ongoing chat room. Especially if you follow people all over the world, there's always something interesting to see, day or night.

Really? Do you have celebs, athletes, news networks giving you live info/updates on any other social site?

Do you care that much that you need it? Anything relevant you can read from 1000000000000000000 other sources, at more than 140 characters at a time

Posted via Android Central App

I don't use it as a social gathering but as a news, information, and sports feed. Best part.......it delivers in chronological order.

Posted via the Android Central App

Yeah, I used to love the Falcon widget. But it is bugged since a few weeks... On both, my smartphone and my tablet, the timeline suddenly "disappears" when scrolling through it, leaving nothing but a blank, empty widget. After refresh it scrolls to the far bottom... And when I scroll upwards, it bugs again :(
The only way to "fix" it, is to switch betwen mentions and the timeline... Until it happens again. Silly bug.

I'm have been an avid Twitter user since 2008. I've seen it start as a networking tool for like minded individuals into business related marketing, spam, and pointless dribble. But, as the author pointed out, one of the pluses of it is I can weed out what doesn't interest me.

I currently use it to share common interest with my network and I manage my church's account which posts announcements, spiritual encouragement, and we actually live tweet our services for those who are unable to attend or stream the service.

That is exactly how I use it, as a medium for information. I never post either because I don't have a need to disseminate information to massive groups of people in real-time.

"I miss the world cup" ...yeah, comments like that is what my life is missing since I don't waste time on twitter. I think I'll manage without it.

Sometimes I catch a comment over my wife's shoulder as she is checking Facebook that reads from one of her aquantinces, "I'm feeling sad today." It makes me want to pick up the entire Internet and hurl it against the wall.

Don't do that, if it breaks you'll never get the smell of contempt and porn out of your house.

Posted via Android Central App

I wish more of my friends were in Twitter. I really do. If you follow enough people or sites you're up to the minute in everything. I've had very few conversations with people on Twitter and they're usually hilarious. If Facebook is like an ulcer to some people then Twitter is like the doctor to medicate Facebook for you. All depending on how you use it.

Twitter's been fantastic. Every day I have a lot of fun an interesting stuff to see and converse about. I've also picked up a number of jobs and new clients on Twitter.

Not only have I combined them I have sorted out what exactly I want to follow. Tired of seeing what people had for lunch or endless pics of people's scroungie children.

Posted via Android Central App

News. Trending stuff is faster than any outlet. I'd bet that's where CNN and the like get their breaking news from.

Posted via the Android Central App

"I can't wait for next year's World Cup" just about sums up all my reasons for disliking Twitter. That, and "Thinking about urinating," "Currently urinating," and "Finished urinating, ready to embrace life" of course.

I use Twitter to do my facebook updates, then its two birds with one stone for updats, for the ones that only follow on twitter, and then the same for only those who follow my face book. and I only have to type once lol...

Had twitter, got rid of Twitter, found it to be really pointless, but I'm not narcissistic.

Posted via Android Central App

As pointless as effin' Facebook. Just another place for plastic people with no REAL social life. Nuke 'em all. World would be better off without all those vacuous morons.

Posted from my VZW GALAXY S3

Please, tell me how it's different than most of you all arguing over tech that you "hate and will never buy" so you rage in these articles. Seems like a waste of time only for garage nerds and trolls with no life. Put them out in the sun an watch'em burn ;)

Posted via Android Central App

I love Twitter. It's awesome. It's a news aggregator. It's something to get entertained. It's something to stay in touch with friends, It's a way to get in contact with customer support, most of the times faster than any regular help line/support call or chat.

It's a challenge to say something meaningful in only 140 characters. But it's nealy always worth the effort.

Funny, the examples in this article point out the useless drivel that I assume I'll find on twitter any time I check it out for a bit. It's click baiting worse than blogposts on facebook. Sure, a huge generalization, but my experience. I use it rarely for lame contests (like trying to get gaming dlc or a One+1.)

Posted via Android Central App

For me it's a great way to interact with other fans of thw football team I support, Newcastle United. I moved North of the bkrder years ago, and as such don't know many fans of the club that I see, in person, regularly. So with Twitter I'm connected to hundreds of fans. Same goes for bands/music. It's also a fantastic tool for up to the minute breaking news (especially travel reports)

I actually like it better than other social platforms because it's one word SIMPLE. I don't have to go into my settings to customize what I want to see, I just choose to follow what I'm interested in.

Sent from a device beyond your wildest dreams!

Twitter was my source for news and now it has a friend called G+. Both of them are great for finding news headlines.

"Onward, little snail, be steady and sure ... for now you must climb the great Mt. Fuji!" {item 137 from my collection of tweeted micro-poems}

X-9 = 2B^3

I used to dislike twitter and I didn't understand why my sister uses it a lot. My twitter account was left aside doing nothing for two years after trying to tweet a few things, one day I just happen to started using it again and it all went well and now I love it a lot. I didn't bother to go facebook anymore unless I'm contacting friends and family. I believe short is sweet too ;)

I don't use Twitter much to Tweet, but occasionally. I follow national news organizations, certain Big Whigs, and TV show updates, and OMG Facts. Nice educational, last second details, when I want, where I want.

Gold made Sense, on my Htc One M8.

Twitter used to be fine until they started updating their app constantly, and now it's gotten to a point where the app doesn't work unless all you want to do is read your feed. Trying to send a tweet causes my screen to go black for 5 seconds, and then it reloads right back to where it left off. It's gotten progressively worse over the past few months.

I'm new to the android community.I've been on Twitter since 09. I get REAL news from Twitter. My question to all off you is where is tweetbot? This android Twitter client sucks beyond belief

Posted via the Android Central App

I just closed my twitter account.

Soon as it started showing in my feed what my followers follow and like (with out the option to not show this) I decided it was time to quit. I was just using it as a news feed and I didn't need the other crap.

Posted via Android Central App

Most public figures on Twitter have bland promotional accounts (those which aren't are usually from people who are so boring or stupid you wouldn't want to follow then anyway), as a news aggregator it's overwhelming unless regularly checked, and most 'regular' people post inane drivel about their lives; it's a way for the narcissistic and lonely to feel as though they're connecting and having their opinions validated somehow.

Beyond that, it has led to the pernicious development of the arena of 'trial by the opinion of the majority' with challenging or controversial viewpoints deemed wrong. There is no form of social media where one must self filter more to be sure that what is said is acceptable to all potential viewers, or face would could be serious consequences.

I can think of only three genuine use cases for Twitter:

1. To bring together and connect a disparate, specialized community (be that specialist by profession or interests)

2. For information on the ground about a specific event - particularly if newly occurring/developing

3. To connect with a company or person quickly and publicly (although this is becoming less useful)

Posted via Android Central App

I spent 3 weeks of calls, online chats and e-mails with Motorola customer service, trying to get a phone returned to me. I'll skip the specifics, but essentially it required someone to stop trying to automate the process and get up, put the phone in an envelope, and ship it out to me. I was promised at least 8 times via those various formats I'd be called in "24-48 hours." I never received a single incoming call.

Fed up and with no end in sight (and after warning them I was going to) I started complaining publicly on Twitter, tagging both the general Moto Mobility and the Support accounts.

My phone arrived in less than 2 days.

Power of social media. When people's complaints about a company are public and can be seen by a vast amount of people, the company is more likely to get things done to change their attitudes.

Posted via Android Central App

I like Twitter, mainly because I'm college student and it's a great way to find out what's going on around the town and campus. It's really all about who you follow.

Posted via Android Central App

Twitter is fun. Especially during live events. Nice to see what everyone is thinking! And popular hashtags are PURE entertainment lol.

Posted via Android Central App

If you ask me Twitter is the social media for the smart people. It is not about topics than about people.

I tried twitter more than once and just couldn't get into it.

I guess I just don't give a crap what most others have to say.

Then again, I like privacy too and spend most of my time alone (and not in a sad way).

Twitter to me is like...noise. I don't like noise.

My company has a Twitter account, but we rarely use it. Same with Facebook and Google+. Personally I have Facebook and Google+ and I very rarely post to either, and if I do, it is direct messaging. Just don't see the need to advertise my boring, mundane life.

Posted via my Nexus 7

I'm going to have to debate this. If got or used the big 3, Facebook , Twitter and Google+

I found Facebook to be largely irrelevant for news, those news threads that are there tenfbto get overloaded with spam. Case in point. Look at the Huffington Post app. Since tying in their comments to Facebook, I'm seeing multiple 'I found a new job on this website' on posts say about the crisis in the Ukraine. It's just k mundane rubbish. Needless to say I deleted my account a few months ago.

Twitter I found, yes can be useful for keeping up to date on events, blogs , technology or whatever, it really is just a succession of statements rather than a discussion. It provides concise information but no real social communication.

Google+ I feel is by far the better platform. It organises the Information I receive much clearer with the use of its circles and communities than Twitter, and isn't as loaded with the junk posts of Facebook. The comments sections can involve a lot more debate and conversation between users, and like Twitter the news feed can be edited to show what you want , depending how you feel any given time, as well as including the #tag system of Twitter to help if you want more specifics.

As a whole, if I want news in say the Formula 1 racing or the Barclays Premier League. I use Twitter for idle browsing the subject. If I want in depth information then Google+. As for Facebook, I wouldn't even bother looking.

Posted via the Android Central App

I was in the beginning more of a fb kinda guy but twitter is interesting and more simple

Posted via the Android Central App

What's the point of twitter? When 10000 people post you can only read maybe 20 or 30 at the most.

Posted via Android Central App

Twitter is the only social media site I use. It's very informative and can be funny at times. I just deleted my Facebook account and the app from my phone. Facebook is just filled with pictures of what people are eating or drinking at that time. Plus I haven't used it in months. As soon as I deleted the app I immediately notice a difference in the preformance of my phone. It was using a ton of RAM. I own a Note 3 so I have plenty of RAM but still I don't keep useless apps on my phone.

Posted Via AT&T Galaxy Note 3

For me I just love the way Twitter allows the everyday person to contact celebrities (not that I've done so), and read their comments. Instead of simply viewing fan-run and fake pages on Facebook. Twitter makes the special people seem more ordinary at least.

Posted via Android Central App

Id argue celebrity stalking is one of the worst things about it.
It just encourages dross. Take a look at the number of trolls on say Piers Morgan's posts. Not a tweet goes by without some uneducated div chiming.

In fact i believe a culture of 'follow' to cricise is a major part of Twitter.

Posted via the Android Central App

Its good for live blogging. Tv stars can comment on there show as its airing. Also a great source for quick news in a natural disaster. You can be directed to websites to get info very quickly

Love Twitter. I have not connected with any of my friends on it but instead use it to follow very specific news and small or certain types of organizations.

Posted via Android Central App

I was a tweetcaster user but had some credit sitting around in google play and decided to try a paid app. Got hooked on Fenix and have been adding more and more names to follow.

I started following some of my favorite comic book writers and artists, and the things they share are very addicting, and very very cool. I'm glad I went further down the rabbit hole with twitter, even got a tweet favorited by Bill Sienkiewicz, one of THE BEST comic artists ever to me. Made my week.

Other than that beforehand I just followed tech journalists and comic book journalists, which had much less activity.

I really use to be against any and all things related to Twitter (mainly because FaceBook was/is the main thing I really used). It wasn't until recently when I realized how good Twitter actually is (and now, sadly, Google+ is no longer useful/fun to me).

I use Twitter not only to follow my news and favorite sports players, but also to tweet during live events with other people! Twitter people (or at least the ones I talked to) are generally some DANG nice people, too. It's also fun seeing how people are reacting in real-time to a certain event (like the World Cup you mentioned).

I've been bitten by the Twitter bug badly lol.

From a die hard FB fan to now could care less. Twitter rocks, little is just right, I see what I actually subscribe to, in the order it should be and no force ads, invites to play games or any of the horse shit you find on Facebook. I really enjoy how people interact too, don't have to be friends, your posts provide all that you need.

Posted via my Nexus 5

the more I realized that there's a reason people often prefer things to be "short and sweet"

wow took you a couple years.

Twitter is great for up to the minute news and affairs i use it mainly for these purposes and like the fact i can express my views on the news this way.

I never liked to be told to eat my veggies. Also, not sure that people really like the recent trend on advocacy for specific services or apps here in Android Central. It is like preaching to the choir.

Specifically about Twitter.... they grew out of their openness to 3rd party clients. Their official app sucked, but the ecosystem grew because of the other great client apps or there. Then when they became popular they decided to place a limit on the 3rd party apps that made them big. This, to raise the popularity of their poor app. Very unethical, IMHO. Most people don't care about ethics, but I do.

Tried Twitter for quite awhile years back and eventually got tired of the extreme limitation 140 chars imposes and especially annoyed by their cracking down on 3rd party clients which you ironically cite as a benefit.

For live events or breaking news its the best because of the simplicity and massive number of users. For everything else its terrible.

RSS/Feedly is VASTLY better for following news/blog sites. Trying to have a basic conversation on Twitter is absurdly frustrating as you get stopped halfway through your 2nd sentence. The amount of spam and fake accounts is just idiotic. I recently uninstalled their app as somehow unchecking notifications doesn't stop it from notifying me that complete strangers with handles reminiscent of the early 90s just joined. Also, G+ Circles and Feedly Labels are infinitely better than Twitter lists. So much more responsive and powerful.

Finally, Twitter is the ultimate land of the trolls. The Zelda Williams thing was just the tip of the iceberg. If you aren't a celebrity, Twitter doesn't give 2 shits about you. </rant>

Ah Monday :)

I just don't see any point in it at least for me. There's nothing that I need to be that up to the minute on by someone live tweeting or whatever you call it. I stopped Facebook also.

Yeah, sometimes I think "Man, that tailorable news stream on twitter must be nice..." And then I open Feedly.