Like a lot of other journalists these days, I use my Twitter feed as a sort of mini-blog where I post other news items, quick thoughts and new briefs that aren’t worth a full post here.
Lately, I’ve been hearing from more and more people who say they want to use Twitter but aren’t sure they have anything to tweet about. That, I think, misses what makes Twitter valuable – it’s more a brilliant little broadcasting tool than a Facebook-esque social network. “Following” smart people who highlight great writing is what makes Twitter terrific.
Twitter investor Bill Gurley explained that well in a sort of “Twitter 101″ blog post earlier this month:
Twitter suffers from two key misperceptions that need to be resolved before the business can reach its true potential. The first misperception is that Twitter is simply another social network, like Facebook. … Twitter, on the other hand, is a one-to-many information broadcast network. … [O]n Twitter, I can get something out of following Shaquile O’Neil who has no social obligation to follow me back. …
The second, and more critical, Twitter misperception is that you need to tweet, to have something to say and broadcast, for the service to be meaningful to you. For many non-Twitter users, Twitter is an intimidating proposition. “Why would I tweet?,” and “…but I don’t want to tweet” are two common refrains from the non-adopter that highlight this key misperception. But this completely misses the point as to why Twitter has become such an amazingly powerful Internet destination for 100 million others. For the vast majority of Twitter’s next 900 million users, the core usage modality will have very little to do with “tweeting,” and everything to do with “listening” or “hearing.”