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Why I have changed my mind about Twitter (and you should too!)

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Why I have changed my mind about Twitter (and you should too!)

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why I have changed my mind about Twitter (and you should too!)

I like to keep most things simple.  My dad had been hounding me for well over a year to make the move to Twitter.  I kept saying NO...I mean, yet another site you have to go check and keep track of passwords and just stuff in general?  No-uh....didn't want to do it.  He had already pulled me kicking and screaming to Facebook...and at the time, that was enough for me!  Well, I have changed my mind...and you might be surprised why.

My first wall of resistance with Twitter, other than what I mentioned above was being overseas with a prepaid phone where you pay for EACH text message.  I knew messages come in every few seconds if you follow more than a dozen different people or "Twitter feeds", so obviously cost prohibitive if you wanted to monkey around with this thing.  The second thing I thought of was why would I want to read the musings of some random people around the world...stuff that I would never need...mostly....either that or more stuff to waste my time over....reading and musing over!

Well, a few weeks ago, we were scheduled to fly out of Brussels Airport back to the US...and then the big snow of 2010 hit Europe, paralyzing half a dozen countries and wreaking all kinds of havoc.  I signed on the usual news channels online...news was slow incoming, and if I hadn't had Facebook and a local Facebook group I joined (SHAPE Families), I wouldn't have known what the roads were like nearby.  But really....my next biggest concern was our flight when I heard on the Belgian news that flight operations were being affected by this monstrous storm....but no real details, especially in the days coming....in the days we were supposed to make our way by train up to Brussels

So, I signed up for Twitter and immediately found @eurocontrol and @BrusselsAirport to follow and WOW...up-to-the-second information on exactly what was going on at not just our Brussels Airport but all the European airports...not just text updates but uploaded photos and real-time information only seconds old.  Twitter was also the first place I read about the shortage of icing fluid because there was a ban on all heavy trucks in Belgium and northern France, where those shipments were coming from.  I was also able to see and hear which flights were leaving and what the terminal looked like.  I even was able to find some local Twitterers here in Belgium and found our current road conditions on our local highways and other local delays, as well as what trains were running behind....the news sites didn't pick up that information til later...much later, and posted their information then.  It's also when I realized I bet some of these news outlets actually follow Twitter to get their most current news.  You just have to know who to follow to make it work for you.

So my advice to you:

  • Find some Twitterers or maybe it's Tweeters who talk about the things that interest you...and sign up for those feeds only.  
  • If you've got a contract phone with FREE text messaging, then link those feeds to your phone.  If not, you're going to have to rely on checking Twitter on your computer.
  • Many stores post short specials and discounts ONLY on their Twitter feeds, and if you monitor your favorite store there, you can catch the discount before it disappears.  I just saw one that was good for one day only, and the info was ONLY posted on the store's Twitter feed....hmmmm.
  • Connect with your favorite celebrity...I'm not saying I'm a big fan of Ivanka Trump, but it was neat hearing about her adventures on her two day backpacking journey in Patagonia (and I was astounded she had coverage there!).
  • If you have a favorite blogger you can't wait to read, many who use Twitter will announce on their Twitter feed when they have a new blogpost up.  It beats having to check your newsfeeds through RSS or visiting each blog, one by one.
  • You can also get last minute traffic updates as well as weather, as it happens...search for the ones in your area.
  • If you have a topic you are interested in, you can also look at trends and follow those to get the latest information.  Each trend (look at your mainpage on Twitter), has a "#" sign to signify that it's a trend.  I see people following the Royal Wedding plans and others talking about their 2011 New Year's resolutions.
Do you use Twitter?  If so, why do you think it's useful?  If not, why are you staying away?  Be honest:-)

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    4 Comments:

    Anonymous 0402sgrl said...

    I joined twitter over a year ago, after holding out for a long time. I had similar reservations to you, but joined after another MilSpouse convinced me. Since then it has become all consuming! Seriously, I am addicted. I check first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Through the various feeds I follow, I've built a community of people I consider friends, and not just 'virtual' friends. Now, when I want to go to a political rally etc, it's not like going alone. I check with my Tweeps to see who'll be going and we meet up. (Safely and in a public place, of course!) I am a little too attached, I'm sure, but there is no faster place to get on the ground information. Earthquakes in CA? Snow in Philly? Moving to a new town? You name it... someone there is tweeting it.

    January 8, 2011 at 2:28 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I was wondering what all the fuss was too. you made me understand how useful it can really be! I think I am going to go set up an account right now. I am excited to see what I can find!

    January 8, 2011 at 3:29 PM  
    Anonymous susanna said...

    Glad you found it not so bad after all. It can suck you in though. ;-)

    January 9, 2011 at 3:53 AM  
    Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

    Which is why I'm glad I don't do Twitter on my cell phone! I agree, it can be addicting....I'm chalking it up to being a newbie:-)

    January 9, 2011 at 4:56 PM  

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