Here is why I love Twitter:
- Real Time News - There is really no other news source available on the web or off that updates so quickly when something is happening around the world. Since you can pick who you follow, you can pick the ones that apply to you. I follow some world news like CNN and Reuters, and also some local ones like Toronto Star and BlogTO. You can guarantee that if there is a news item, it will be posted on Twitter before it hits TV, the web or that guy behind you in line at Tim Hortons.
- Real Time Search - Today when we were driving home from snowboarding up north, we suddenly came to a big traffic jam. We searched the radio and no one was giving traffic conditions. I did a quick search on my BlackBerry on Twitter for '400 South'. In about 2.5 seconds, I found out that there was an accident about 10 minutes ahead of us. There is just no other way to get info this fast and efficiently. This can be used for any topic. The best way to see this in actions is to go to www.twitter.com and type in any word that interests you. You will see how amazing this can be.
- Getting Answers/Using Hashtags - Usually its easier to Google something then ask everyone on Twitter. The problem with Google is that you don't always know where the information is coming from. When asking certain things on Twitter, you can see who is replying to you and who they are (or who they claim to be at least). Using hashtags can let you interact with people that might not already be following you but are interested in the same things. For instance, you could say "What is a good restaurant in #Whistler for sushi?" Using the hashtag #Whistler will let this tweet show up to anyone following #Whistler or searching for it. I guarantee you will get some replies and info in minutes.
- Meeting People - This might not be for you but Twitter is definitely a platform where you can meet people with similar interests in your area. It is all about engaging with people and sharing information with people that want it. Tweet ups are events where a group of Twitter users meet up for drinks, sports, coffee or even karaoke. These happen all the time and are a great time to chat to people in real life (IRL) and see if you really get along or they are as geeky as they seem in that avatar photo :)
- Free Stuff ! - Here are some examples of free stuff I have received in the last year from Twitter:
- Team Canada Jersey - I attended my first Tweet Up with @djacob during the Canada Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Game. Dan signed up on Twitter and when we entered we got VIP seating, free food, free drinks and tons of SWAG. I won the tweeting contest and got the jersey. Great job by @Molson!
- Platinum Raptors Tickets - Real Sports Apparel Tweeted to come by and show the tweet for free Raptors tickets. I thought they would be nosebleeds but it turned out they were worth $175 a piece. Thanks @realsports!
- Free T-shirt from Hawaii - I started searching out Maui tweets when I was heading there in Feb 2010. I started following a restaurant in Maui called CJ's. They were tweeting about their menu. I asked what I would get if I came by and he said I would get a t-shirt. I went a few times because the food was affordable and yummy but kept missing CJ. They told me to leave my address and CJ mailed me my free t-shirt. Here are some photos from CJ's. Thanks @CJsMaui!
- Wine Jelly from Muskoka - I was in Muskoka most weekends last summer and was always looking for new things to check out. I found a 'tip' on Foursquare (ok, so this is a Foursquare one) about coming by the winery and getting free wine jelly. We took a trip there one day and found a pretty cool cranberry farm and winery. They gave me the free wine jelly. Thanks @MuskokaLakeWine!
- Falling Whistles - Josh Spear (joshspear.com) was having a contest to win a Whistle from Falling Whistles website. I entered and a few weeks later had a whistle in my mailbox. You can't understand how important and amazing this company is unless you read about them on their website fallingwhistles.com. Thanks @joshspear!
- Drink Deals - The more you search, the more you will find. When I headed to Maui I found sites that list which bars are having happy hour and drink specials. When I got there, I was so familiar that we got to enjoy some great bars and restaurants. Here is a photo at the Cool Cat Cafe.
And that is just a sample!
Let me know what you think or if you have anything to add.