How did you begin on Twitter?

A tweet by Evan Smith prompted me to ask the same question.  How did we all find our way onto this microblogging platform.

And more importantly – what’s making us stay?

Me? I was running a forum and was enthralled by Dave Whittle‘s commentary on Twitter and views on social media. So I went and had a look. I’ve stayed as an active user because it’s a great way for me to connect with colleagues about work, life and the digital world. It’s effective and very targeted.

Create your own niche.

Would love to hear your thoughts on how you got here and why you’re staying.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 27 comments for this article
  1. Matt at 10:00 am

    I dabbled for a bit to figure out what all the fuss was about, but it seemed like everyone was twittering about personal crap so I left it alone. I got back on board when I realised people were using it to share insight and the Twitterfox application makes it pretty much hassle-free.

  2. catchakiki at 10:28 am

    I came across Twitter at a presentation on the future of digital media in Parramatta earlier this year and first saw it as a novelty. Like Matt, I quickly realised that aside from having a platform to express random and oblique thoughts, it’s a great way to connect with others around geeky media stuff – case in point right here in fact!

  3. Ben at 11:23 am

    i started using it in may of 07 – it was hyped at SXSW so i took it for a drive.

    I don’t mind it but struggle to work out how it will be viable commercially.

  4. NathanaelB at 12:46 pm

    I think it got a mention at Web Directions 06 so I registered but it wasn’t particularly useful at the time – mostly because there was only a few people I knew on it and my attempts to get others to join weren’t particularly successful … but then there was a bit of a revival and now I have a network of just over 300 people so it has some value to me now.

  5. Jye Author at 4:45 pm

    @Matt – a very familiar story! There was, and continues to be quite a fuss. My office is started to get into it. Been a good learning experience for them.

    @catchakiki – connect it does. I’ve often talked about how important it is to listen and share.

    @ben – commercially as in making money? or as in connecting with audience, peers and networks? I think it wins the latter.

    @NathanaelB – ah nathanael, one of my first twitter friends. Great network you’ve built there.

  6. Matt at 5:31 pm

    I think the key message here is that no one heard about Twitter because of a commercial, a PR campaign, a Google ad or a ‘viral video’. People sneezed, it caught on.

  7. Jye Author at 7:14 pm

    @Matt – very good points: perhaps goes to prove that practical, compelling services (content, products too) will still always succeed.

  8. Ben at 7:50 pm

    commercially in terms of making money.

    i can definitely see the utility value of the app but can’t see how they can monetise.

  9. Eddie at 8:46 pm

    I was sitting in an internet cafe in India. I had heard in social media circles about this elusive Twitter. I joined up.

    Upon return to Australia, I had a few weeks at home and I started looking at it once in a while, but I thought it was rather pointless. Then I got my first reply from @conversationage and I was hooked.

    Connecting with People.
    Sharing Ideas.
    Gaining insights.
    Finding people who love social media. Its power for creativity, inspiration and knowledge.

    I have not looked back.

  10. Katie Harris at 9:32 pm

    A friend was telling me about a Microsoft forum he went to, where the audience were Twittering about the presentations. I didn’t have a clue of what he was talking about, but thought it sounded interesting and, well, freaky. Thought I’d better check it out and am very glad I did. Twitter gives me access to some fantastic thinking, amazing links, great laughs, etc. Love, love, love it!

  11. Jye Author at 7:26 am

    @Ben – I personally believe it might end up in a small subscription service. Might also be a good tactic to keep spammers out. But who knows – I think everyone is asking that question at the moment. Would make for some very interesting conversation.

    @Eddie – connecting and sharing, couldn’t agree with your more. I think it brought our love of SM together! :)

    @Katie – I think that’s a big part of it, it sounds interesting just to hear about the outcomes and experiences of people.

  12. Ben at 12:41 pm

    hrm interesting view jye.

    i don’t think enough people would pay to subscribe to a service like twitter. it’s a nice to have not a necessity.

    twitter could potential provide a function for a publisher that has a clearer revenue model (ie a content provider) – but what that would be worth $$ wise is up for debate.

  13. Jye Author at 12:44 pm

    What about advertising? I guess the space either side of the twitter account could be good for something. I don’t think I’d mind – as long as Twitter themselves were adding more value.

    What do you think?

  14. Nick Cowie at 7:19 pm

    Like NathanaelB, Web Directions 06 to keep in contact with the people I met there. Since then my contacts and my use of twitter has grown dramatically.

  15. Jye Author at 10:40 pm

    It’s always great to hear the results of a successful event that adds meaning and value to the attendees well after it’s over! (being a former events manager ;)

  16. Lee at 12:46 pm

    Someone asked what Twitter was at the Aussie Bloggers Forum and I gave an uninformed answer…

    I went and got informed :)

  17. Kate Carruthers at 12:23 pm

    I registered & found Twitter uninteresting but @SilkCharm said to give it more of a go and I did. It’s been really useful for connecting with a diverse and interesting selection of people.

  18. Jye Author at 4:25 pm

    @Lee – great take on it!

    @Kate – It’s all about what you put in really – much like it should be with a lot things.

  19. Belinda at 12:23 pm

    Hmm well I did register a little while ago and lost interest very quickly…until I kept finding out that a lot of business people that I respected were on Twitter. So I made the effort to get back on there and now not only do I love it, but I have connected with some great people who I never knew existed

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  22. Neerav at 7:51 pm

    I joined Twitter in early 2008 when Virgin Mobile offered a new $5/50mb internet plan I could use without changing my phone plan

    I’d heard about Twitter everywhere for a year beforehand but didn’t join because it only becomes fully useful when you have access to tweet & read other peoples tweets via the mobile web

  23. Grant McDonald at 12:03 pm

    I actually got into twitter because of BrightKite. A friend on FaceBook mentioned something about BrightKite in his status and so I got an invite from him. After using BrightKite twitter seemed the natural “no frills” version.

    Like many people I had heard of twitter ages ago but never saw the point until I made the transition from BrightKite user to active twitterer.

  24. Ross Hill at 5:33 pm

    I started in October 2006 when it was called twttr because I had been keeping an eye on @ev and what he had been doing with Odeo after Blogger. They formed Obvious and then created twttr so I signed up. Like anyone, I said a few tweets and then stopped because ‘nobody was using it’. Then they did, then I did again :) Now it clearly rocks.

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  26. Matt at 12:56 pm

    Re #13

    I’m bemused as to why Twitter doesn’t add some Google ads to the site, I don’t see how it would devalue the experience too much.

    If they’re concerned about an initial backlash, who cares, eg. there’s not much of a fuss made about Gmail ads these days, it’s just accepted by users as part of the package – Love me, love my low key ads [cough *sponsored links* cough] ;)


    I originally looked @ Twitter sometime in 07 and just thought meh.

    Later in 08, I was on an information hoarding binge & discovered that many of the people behind blogs that I enjoyed reading were using Twitter too, so I thought I would have another poke around.

    Initially I was just going to use Twitter as a repository for tagging people (as opposed to blog/websites) but the more I looked at it, the more I enjoyed it & realised that it offered so much more.

    So I got hooked :-)

    Two key observations I’ve made that make the experience more entertaining & educational for me (this is probably more relevant to people just starting out on Twitter):

    1/ Bloggers [Thought Leaders, Ideas People, ]who use Twitter as an outlet for their thoughts & actions IRL have a lot more depth, character & colour then those without a presence outside the walls of their blog fortress.

    I feel more of a connection and better understanding of what’s behind the contentthey publish. I’m more inclined to consistently return to them as a source of information (& if they take the time to engage people interested in what they have to say, even better).

    2/ For Aussies looking to Twitter as a place of learning, I would suggest that you ignore the urge to follow every single global maven, expert, evangelist, e-penis extravaganza etc and look to what’s in your own backyard first.

    Australia punches far above its weight when it comes to adding value to the global web community.

    Support them & they have more motivation to support the local community = WIN-WIN

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