One of our staff members recently bit the cyber bullet and started playing more with Twitter. Yes, he…or she…is even finally learning about those crazy little hash tags and the concept of conversing with someone. Several of us were asked what we thought of the service and what we liked about it, so it seems worth compiling and sharing with all of you.

E-mail changed the face of the planet since we no longer had to add postage to an envelope and communication was almost instantaneous. Then there’s texting, only that doesn’t quite get the word out if you want to share something with tens, hundreds or a couple thousand people. Twitter allows you to do just that. It’s quick and it goes out to everybody who’s following you. Have a good day because you just received the rare Megaforce soundtrack in the mail? Share the news! Catch Charlie Sheen sniffing some Pillsbury All Purpose Flour? Share it! Take a picture with your camera phone, too.

And speaking of celebrities, they seem to be tweeting their little hearts out these days and we, the public, are getting an inside look at just how human—and sometimes awful—they can be. I’ve actually been at a convention before and a celebrity has announced what their Twitter address is. Next thing you know, they’re sitting on stage and tweeting with people in the audience. Annoying? Yes. The point is everybody is curious about somebody and Twitter has opened the door to satisfying some of that curiosity. Explore! Have fun! Learn to lower your expectations!

Twitter trends are actually set by a meager 20+ users, mainly news outlets. That’s an awful lot of control to have. Fortunately, there are a number of other users out there who have massive followings and share news and information that the media outlets won’t. Ask yourself what you want your followers to take away from reading your tweets. Are you just another “That girl looked at me. She obviously wants me!” kind of person or are you a “I have an opinion about something I feel is important and I’m going to express it” leader?

Finally, you’ve got 140 characters to set your example and make your presence in the world known. This forces you to think about the most important point about what you’re trying to say, yet also makes you realize how it’s being said. Using Twitter is a bit like playing a game of Battle Ship; some tweets miss and others hit their mark. You just have to play and learn as you go. Just be sure to play wisely.

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