I often find myself defending the merits of new and social media when faced with the diverse chorus of voices lamenting the days when we weren't all so easily accessible by cell phones, didn't have to worry about our children seeing inppropriate images on Facebook, and checking our email regularly wasn't a "neccessity." For the most part, I'm with these folks and live by a set of loose rules when it comes to my media usage and consumption.
Where I get off the bus of complaining, though, is when someone starts on about how stupid Twitter is. The sentiment usually expressed--and it's never consistently a man or a woman, an older or a younger person--is "I don't care what someone's eating for breakfast."
It's true, Twitter is filled with minute updates about peoples' daily lives that I could go on living a very full life having never read. But, except for some personal friends whose lives I'm genuinely interested in, I don't read such updates.
My response to statement "I just don't understand it" is to encourage doing a search for an interesting topic and just start following a few people who seem to be saying interesting things and linking to news articles and blog posts.
Twitter can be especially useful for gathering and disseminating information. I know that's a really jargony thing to say and I, too, am imagining hearing that exact line while sitting in some mandatory company "webinar" on how to use social media to our advantage. But here's what I mean: If you're like me and enjoy socializing, you may also like all the interesting news about, say, social justice or liturgy, just by following a handful of in-the-know folks who "tweet" (read: update) regularly.Think of all the conversation topics you'll have after five minutes of checking what's going on Twitter?
We at U.S. Catholic have been in the process of creating what we think would be useful lists for our readers who are already active on Twitter as well of those who are somewhat interested, but haven't known where to start.
Just click on a list that looks interesting to you and click the icon that says "Follow this list." (If you're using a Twitter application such as Tweet Deck, you'll have to add a column based on the list you want to follow.)
You can see all of our lists here Also, if you're already on Twitter and think you should be added to one of these lists, let us know (@USCatholic ). Or, conversely, if you find yourself in a list that you think is inaccurate, we'd also like to know about it. The lists are a (slightly cumbersome) work in process, so we accept comments and suggestions.