Twitter: What is it Good For?

I ask a lot of questions on Twitter. A lot.

Someone mentioned that using Twitter instead of Google to find information was an attention-getting tactic.

To which some people replied, “Isn’t Twitter in general a way to get attention?”

But I digress.

I do not use social media professionally. I am not a brand. I am not marketing myself or my writing or a company or a non-profit.

Which is not to say, especially when it comes to my children’s school, I wouldn’t like to use Twitter in such a way — to market, to communicate to a specific audience, professionally. And I do post my blog posts to Twitter.

If asking questions on Twitter is attention-getting, I am guilty, in spades.

But I do use Twitter for information. It’s so very efficient! If I throw a question out there, such as, “What is superfine sugar? Is it confectioners’ sugar?”, I get anywhere from one to five answers. (My favorite answer to that question the other day was, “It’s really, really good-looking sugar.” h/t @onedamnthing.)

If I google that phrase, I get more than 300,000 results, and many of the results are ads that take me to a particular brand page (which, go SEO!) or recipes. I would have to sift through those results. When I ask on Twitter, not only do I get an answer, but I also learn, for example, that while I can buy superfine sugar, I can also get the same effect by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor.

Plus, a lot of time when I use Twitter to ask questions I’m at home, and I don’t sit in front of a computer at home. I am running around with my kids, or cooking dinner, or cleaning up, or whatever. So I use my pocket friends and their stores of knowledge. My pocket friends are very smart, very patient with me, and pretty willing to answer my inane baking questions. (I also asked about self-rising flour recently. In case you didn’t know, self-rising flour has nothing to do with yeast.)

(Phrase “pocket friends”, h/t to @tehamy and @jayesel — I’ve seen them both use it. Or maybe one of them says “pocket people”. Anyway, you get the idea.)

Search engines very much have their place. Google and Bing are a great resources, and I do use them quite often professionally and casually. But if I want information quickly, Twitter is the place for me!

When you need an answer to a question, where do you turn?