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Twitter, what’s the point?

Many people don’t see the point of using Twitter. To be honest, it may not be for you. However, I thought I would tell you how I’ve been using it and maybe this will inspire you or alternatively put you off completely.

Screen Print of my Twitter Timeline

I tend to use Twitter in two main ways; as a filter for the internet and secondly to find out people’s reactions to world/regional events.

Twitter as a Filter

Firstly as a filter, I follow the people who I’m interested in. So taking a look at this screen-shot of my timeline the entry below my post (WillellisM) is from the ISBE, the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship . Next is a tweet from the Dalai Lama, he usually (or perhaps his pa) says something rather soothing, poetic or philosophical. Next comes a tweet from Johansen Coach
. Michelle and her husband Cato did part of the Effective Leadership course on my MBA. I recommend them! Here she’s telling me about the launch of her new website. I had a look at it and sent her a message saying it looked great – see my tweet at the top of the timeline.

Twitter for breaking News

The second use is to find out immediately what is going on. Twitter lets you find out people’s instant reactions to events. It may also provide you with valuable information. You may remember that there were recently riots in London. Surprisingly too, we also had some trouble here in Zürich. Luckily, these things are extremely rare in Zürich; it is normally such a pleasant, safe city. Anyway, that evening it took me a while to get home as I had to take a long detour around the affected area. Originally and rather stupidly, I’d tried to go through Bellevue which at the time I didn’t realise was the centre of the disturbance. I turned back when I saw the teenager in front of me get shot with a rubber bullet/projectile/thing by the police. I later found a friendly policeman who suggested a safe route home.

Anyway on getting back home, I wanted to find out what was going on, so I looked on Twitter. Using hashtags (#) [alt 3 on a mac] on the words riot and Zürich, like this #zurich #riot and doing a search I could find out what was going on. Of course, people were already tweeting about it, and here was an answer in seconds. From the Tweets I learnt that it was an illegal flash mob party in Bellevue and the police were breaking it up with teargas and baton rounds when the group turned violent / refused to move.

Twitter Screen Print #riots #zurich

Here is a screen print of the search. It is a bit too long ago now, but there are some nice (and some not so great) comments. Luckily, having found out the information on Twitter, I knew that the riot was localised and I knew the reason for it. I slept better knowing the facts.

The next day much of the debris had been cleared. On my way cycling to the station to go hiking in the mountains I found a number of baton rounds (rubber bullets) on the ground around Bellevue.

Sleep well and don’t have nightmares

Luckily I have to stress that this is an extremely unusual event here. Switzerland and Zürich in particular are incredibly safe, clean, and organised. The people are charming and it is a beautiful country; well worth a visit. In my opinion, Twitter is worth a visit too.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mark Holcomb #

    I really liked your explainastion of how you use twitter. I have been a citizen of Zurich in the past and found that people seem a little too concerned about its image and always seem to have to explain every time there is a dimming of the city lights or perception. I remember walking the street with my wife one day in front of two polic officers walking the beat. Across from us was a cafe where a man threw a woman over a railing onto the sidewalk for all to see. My wife and I were shocked when we saw this and even more shocked when the police ignored and walked on by. Zurich is a wonderful place and I loved living there in the early 1980’s. However, like any city it has an underbelly with a few secrets.

    March 9, 2012
    • Hi Mark, thanks for your comment, much appreciated. I agree with you, Zurich is a lovely place to live…. and it is true, a city is a mosaic and made up of many different parts, not all of which are tranquil views of the lake and alps!

      March 18, 2012

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