You may or may not have heard of the latest phenomenon to hit the web. It's called Twitter and it's been popping up all over the place on TV and Radio with the likes of Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross now tweeting.
While the original purpose may have been to let people know "What Are You Doing?", most people aren't really that interested in what you had for breakfast, that you're helping the kids with their homework or that you're just off to do some shopping but they might be interested in your expertise, they could have an answer to your question and you might just find out how to do ... well, just about anything. You only have to ask.
Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters, so it's like sending a text message but via the web. You can send a message to all your Followers (people who have signed up to receive your Tweets - as Twitter messages are called), reply to a Tweet (@) by including the Tweeter's name eg. @clareevans or send a direct message (d) that only that person will receive.
I love the quick and easy way that Twitter works. You can get a whole wealth of information in just 140 characters. For me, it's a great way to keep in touch with my contacts and wider network and to connect with people on a more regular basis than I would if I spent my time emailing or phoning them.
There are several people I recommend you follow if you're new to Twitter. @markshaw has plenty of links to useful info and often Re-Tweets (RT) things he finds. @NikkiPilkington has a whole blog on "Twitter for Business" and @grahamjones also has lots of useful info on Twitter.
On the international side there is @ProBlogger @chrisbrogan and @mashable - are just a few of several, prolific online media marketing people. Dozens more I could mention as well as the Celeb Tweeters and other more obscure people who are fun to follow, if you've got the time.
Connect with your contacts, connect with your customers and clients. Have different Twitter accounts for different, focused tweets (use Twhirl to manage multiple accounts).
BUT - plan your Twitter Time along with your other marketing/business time, so you don't find your day disappearing in a stream of Twitter chat! Use tools like Twitterfeed, Tweetdeck or Twhirl to manage your 'stream' so that you can filter your Tweets into useful groups.
Follow me on Twitter.