Twitter is all the rage. The signature blue bird appears on nearly every web page, and the younger generation is flocking to Twitter rather than other forms of social media. But, Twitter isn’t just for kids. Increasingly, busy moms are using it to connect with one another, to stay on top of current affairs and even to save a little money.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo explains, “People’s lives are busier than ever, and there’s more information coming at us from all directions. Twitter is a great way to stay up to date on just what you personally care about, while you’re on the go. You decide who and what kinds of people to connect to—whether it’s the world’s best information and entertainment sources—and Twitter brings you the very latest from them in real-time.”
Here are seven ways Twitter can help you stay organized and informed.
1. Stay on top of the news
Scan your Twitter feed to see what’s happening in the U.S. and internationally. Click on links to get more in-depth information on the topics that interest you (U.S. relations with Cuba or the latest economic data, for instance). You can also use Twitter to keep tabs on breaking news as it unfolds or to see what others are talking about by checking what is “trending” on Twitter. Follow local news in your city like @chicagotribune to stay current on stories close to home, including crime, the local economy, road construction and sports. Track the weather at @weatherchannel.
2. Cultivate your community
Follow other Twitter users who share your passions for parenting, fashion, philanthropy, decorating, entertainment, photography, pets or reading. If fitness is your thing, join the conversation by re-tweeting interesting articles and inspirational messages, and following magazines like Health (@goodhealth). Get travel tips for your upcoming European vacation from users who have just returned or review tweets from @TravlandLeisure. Swap kale recipes with other foodies on Twitter and get ideas from @epicurious. Most, if not all, of your favorite periodicals are tweeting.
3. Connect to your kids’ schools
Schools are increasingly using Twitter to communicate with students, parents and alumni. Elementary schools use Twitter to remind parents of upcoming events, deadlines, and to encourage a sense of community. For example, Denver Public Schools (@DPSNewsNow) provides easy access to enrollment information, videos of choir performances and updates on student discussions about news stories. Twitter is also a great way to learn more about colleges your teen is considering. Get a feel for the culture on campus by following the school’s Tweets.
4. Get daily doses of inspiration
Follow a few accounts that send daily tweets that make you smile or inspire you. Start your day with a quote from Brainy Quote (@BrainyQuote). Or, connect with Pope Francis (@Pontifex), who tweets about peace, family and faith. Enjoy wildlife photos from Outside magazine (@outsidemagazine). Follow a celebrity trainer who motivates you, a comedian who makes you laugh, a glamorous actress or your favorite professional athlete.
5. Boost your health
For those impacted by a specific illness or disease, Twitter has become a way to share information. The American Cancer Society (@AmericanCancer) and The American Heart Association (@American _Heart) both share the latest research, tips for good health and inspiring messages. You may find a community as you follow others who have posted comments of interest and share similar experiences. Mark Hyman, MD (@markhymanmd), a nationally recognized physician, offers daily suggestions for healthier eating, weight-loss strategies and lifestyle changes to prevent disease.
6. Give (and get) support
For Beth Engelman, co-founder of the popular website Mommy on a Shoestring, Twitter has been a great tool for her small business community. “We share information about products and our businesses…we cross-promote.”
Engelman has also used Twitter to support one of her favorite charities. “After visiting the hospital (@StJude), I decided I wanted to send a donation. Instead of just writing a check, I told my Twitter audience that for every new user we got that month, I would donate $1. It was a win-win, as St. Jude received my donation and we both received more exposure.”
7. Save some money
Twitter is a handy resource for coupons, sales, giveaways, gift ideas and the latest new product information. Businesses realize the value of Twitter, which allows them to develop more of a personality and connect with their customers. Word-of-mouth is a powerful way to endorse or condemn brands and products, and moms use Twitter to share their shopping experiences. Follow your favorite clothing manufacturer like @FreePeople, retailers like @Target, or track the latest high-tech products. Thinking of buying the new Apple Watch? Join the conversation (#AppleWatch) to read the early reviews or even enter a giveaway for a chance to win one.
Not sure how to get started? Here are easy steps that will have you tweeting like a Millennial in no time:
- Create a Twitter account and review Twitter Help to get a summary of the lingo and learn the basics for getting started.
- Start following your favorite news source, charity, magazine and a few friends. (You can find us on Twitter at @makeitbetterNS.)
- Join the conversation by re-tweeting a great article or adding a comment. Your interaction will help create a group of followers with similar interests.