"How to Twitter" or Why you need to forget your misconceptions.
Regularly, I see some opinions that irk me. "Twitter is stupid." "I don't understand the point of Twitter." "I already have Facebook, why do I need Twitter..." As an avid Twitter user, I find these thoughts off-putting.
When Twitter first came onto the scene, a lot of people brushed it off as silly. Facebook had already launched, and was quickly becoming the new "MySpace"—that is, the one social network that would dominate the industry over the next decade. While Facebook was taking over the social networking space, Twitter was developing into something else.
Twitter quickly became to be described as a "microblogging" service—kind of like a super short form Tumblr of sorts. (Fun fact, Twitter shortly after launch wasn't alone in the "microblog" market like it is now. A few competing services launched but have since fizzled out.) I think that this description is where a lot of misconceptions about Twitter began. Twitter is not just a Facebook wall, and it isn't a great way to chronicle your life like a blog—but it doesn't need to be. Twitter is a tool, and there isn't another one like it anywhere.
I like to think of Twitter as a conversation. It's dynamic and shifting. No day on Twitter is ever the same. If you have an opinion, simply voice it—it will be heard. Following someone doesn't imply any kind of social contract like friendship—it only implicates interest. Connections are fleeting, and that is OK. Best of all, strangers don't think it is weird when you chime in on their conversations.
I firmly believe that most of the troubles people have when rationalizing Twitter arise when they try to treat it like Facebook. Twitter isn't and will never be Facebook. What Twitter is is a valuable, unique, and multigenerational soap box—anybody can step up and contribute. When people treat Twitter like its competitors, they're opening themselves up for failure.
Twitter doesn't care about your lunch, and that's what makes it great.