A few weeks ago I started an experiment in how I use Google and Twitter. I decided that every time I went to use Google, I'd ask my Twitter followers the question instead. I got the idea after getting some great results when I was looking for a place to eat a Sunday lunch in Berkshire.
So I did this for one week, and learned a hell of a lot from it. If you're considering how to make use of the Twitter community, this might be useful in some way.
- Firstly, if you ask people at the right time and in the right way, Twitter's community is very giving. I got all sorts of help in explaining technical terms, finding free WiFi in London, hiring staff, finding TV aerial boosters... all sorts. The best time of day to get results is during office hours. And the best way to ask is directly and simpley. ie: Where can i find good, free wifi in London?
- Secondly, I found that Googling for *everything* is just lazy. Twitter isn't always the best alternative (finding contact details or directions for example isn't easy on Twitter!) but always going to Google first isn't necessary. It took this experiment to force me to find things other ways.
- Thirdly, I found I use Google less than I thought. I had it in my head that I'm on it all the time, but in the end it was just a handful of times in the week.
- Lastly, the Twitter community isn't much help if it's small. I have about 2,500 followers, and if that number was more like 25, I don't think Twitter would hold the same value for me.
Here's a summary of the questions I asked and the answers I got. Saved in my Twitter favourites of course :)