August 21, 2008

Blogging Tip #9: Twitter

Regular readers may remember that I started using Twitter toward the end of July. In part, I was just curious about what the service was and whether it could be useful. In addition, I was interested in Twitter's potential for blog promotion. It seemed like it could be an interesting way to build community among atheists. I said I would use it for at least one month and then post my thoughts here. It has not been quite a month yet, but I believe I am now sufficiently familiar with the service to share my impressions, especially since I have already decided that I will continue using Twitter beyond the month I initially gave myself.

If you need a reminder about what Twitter is, what it does, and how to set it up, please refer to my previous post on the subject.

I had initially hoped that Twitter might be useful for blog promotion. Although it has indeed been good for this purpose, it turns out that this is not the primary reason I have found the service useful. I'll get to that in a minute since I suspect that most readers are wondering what Twitter can do for their blog traffic.

With regard to blog promotion, the first thing I found with Twitter was that I was discovering new blogs and visiting those using Twitter more regularly than unusual. This should be of great interest to newer bloggers looking to build traffic. Many Twitter users who have blogs use the Twitterfeed service to automatically inform their followers of new posts. This helps Twitter be an effective means of blog promotion. I suppose a truly lazy user might even derive some benefit from this without doing anything else with Twitter.

Of course, doing so would lead one to miss out on what I regard as the main benefit of Twitter. Once I discovered other atheist bloggers on Twitter, I found that the service could be a great way of interacting with others, sharing ideas, and getting excellent information. Rather than simply promoting my own work, I have been finding and promoting others' work which I would have otherwise missed. Twitter is an excellent source of ideas for post topics, resources for sharing with others, and even cross-blog collaboration. In short, my use of Twitter has led me to have far more interaction with other atheist bloggers than I did before starting to use the service. This benefits everyone involved.

I plan to keep Twitter. Even as I am now discovering Friendfeed, a newer service that can incorporate Twitter but do far more, Twitter continues to be a valuable service. It probably will not bring you tons of added traffic, but it may just help you be a better citizen of the atheist community.

If you decide to try Twitter, you can find me at http://twitter.com/vjack

I'm also on Friendfeed at http://friendfeed.com/vjack

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