Twitter – Help or Hindrance to the Work From Home Brigade?

If you are work from home and are vaguely interested in what’s happening with new Web applications, every day’s email and news feeds can brim with temptation to explore the latest new thing, rather than getting on with your planned work. For those who make a business of exploring the latest new things, there is no conflict.

Take Twitter, for instance.

And some who have tried to understand Twitter and given up might well say, Yes, take Twitter – a long way away.

Others are either more curious or are even Twitterholics.

Just over a month ago I posted a fence-sitting podcast on the subject at Business Blogging Show.

I’ve since asked others and had mixed reports, but more people I

respect as knowing about these things seem to be getting on board, and

I’d hate to miss out 🙂

For the sake of anyone who is not on Twitter or hasn’t figured out what it is, the Wikipedia explanation is:

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) via SMS, instant messaging, the Twitter website or an application such as Twitterrific. These updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and also instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to members of his (sic) circle of friends, or allow delivery to everybody (which is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, or through an application. For SMS, currently two gateway numbers are available: one for the USA and a UK number for international use. While the twitter service itself is free, posting and receiving updates via SMS typically incurs a charge from the wireless carrier.

Twitter explains itself more pithily, with less emphasis on the technology and more on the social networking aspect:

Twitter. A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!

There is an interesting video on chrisbrogan.com, where Robert Scoble talks with friends about Twitter. Dr Robert Pepper asked “what is Twitter?”

Some quotes from Robert’s contributions:

Twitter is “a microblogging service where I can write only 140 characters at a time”

“It’s really lame and really stupid but all your friends are going to be on it and so you’re going to be in it too someday.”

A lot of people when they first see Twitter think of it as a chat room and it is like a chat room, “only you can remove the idiots”.

Benjamin Higginbotham has a short but helpful post on Technology Evangelist – Twitter is best explained through Twittervision:

To anyone who is not a savvy Web 2.0 geek it’s really hard to explain,

I just could not explain it in a way that they would understand.  Until

now.

He believes Twittervision and Twittermaps demonstrate what Twitter does, what it makes possible.

When you click on Twittervision you get a moving map of the world, with instant flagging of Twitter posts. Be warned – it can be hypnotic.

With Twittermaps I can define my location. And in fact I can have several locations and Twitter which one I am in at present.

I’ve now installed on this blog (left sidebar) a couple of Twitter components:

A Twitter “badge” where I post items about what I’m doing/thinking and with a link to my Twitter page, under my Twitter (and MyBlogLog) handle of “beachblogger”.

And hyperlinked pictures of  Twitter friends.

I imagine it’s fairly obvious that Twitter could be a real distraction for anyone working from home. Can it also add value? My guess, picking up on a comment in the video linked to above, is that depends on the business context each person works in. For me it makes sense so far to explore it further, I think mainly in terms of the possibilities of “mini-blogging” and of course social networking.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bernard

    Thanks for that. Forgive my ignorance, but would having the Flash version be better?

  2. Anonymous says:

    For what it’s worth, some government agencies I know block twitter in all incarnations. So having a Javascript badge containing Twitter information will block the parent blog from loading in a browser in order to effectively block the Twitter content.

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