10 great things about Twitter or 'what Twitter has taught me about life'

A bench (b&w)1. It's ok to talk to people who are 'famous', just as, you know, people. The most exciting thing about Twitter is that your favourite celebrities/authors/funnymen can 'talk' to you. They might not (@stephenfry has 2,471,366 followers at last count so it would keep him pretty busy) but I've tweeted with successful business people I've learnt a lot from (@pamslim, @jonathanfields, @johnsw) because some of the barriers that prevented us communicating have now been lifted (getting a pen and paper, writing a letter, picking up the phone and negotiating with PAs).

2. I definitely love witty comments which make me laugh.

Which points to my values. Which tells me what I love. Which makes Twitter happy, informal, relaxed and fun.

3. There are good people on Twitter, crazy people on Twitter, stupid people on Twitter. You just have to pick your friends, the same as in face to face meetings.

You should be careful online as you are offline. Careful about sharing your address and tweeting the fact you're not home. Careful about who you interact with and how. Being accountable for what you say and how you say it. Act with integrity, professionally, and with kindness and warmth. But on the other hand be open, and approachable, and friendly.

4. People REALLY don't care what you've had for breakfast. Or how drunk you got last night. Or what your dream was about.

Some things don't change. If you tweet constantly about yourself, about things in your life which aren't interesting, insightful or informative, you'll find you're unfollowed. By contributing to the conversation, we are enchancing the lives of others or making the conversation boring. Choose what you say.

5. If you're the kind of person who loves to help people, you'll find yourself in a group of people who are just as helpful.

I am lucky to be part of a local tweeting community which is engaging, friendly and welcoming. I've met some lovely people through twitter, people who have become real life friends, clients and know that I can have a friendly conversation even amongst people who frankly aren't very like me. It's fabulous, it makes life interesting. You can find your tribe on Twitter, you've just got to look for them.

6. You're probably still going to forget their real name. [Despite being able to remember their Twitter name.]

This has happened to me. It happens offline as well as online. It's not the end of the world. And sometimes quite funny.

7. People like to talk. There is always be someone to talk to.

The internet is always open for business. You can find someone awake in every time zone. I communicate with people from all over the world and I love the variety. Always an opportunity, even if you're an insomniac.

8. Giving is the most important thing. Being nice is another.

Being willing to share what you have, what you know and things you love is crucial in the new biz. By demonstrating your knowledge, your passion, and accessible, useful information, you are creating a valued contribution, just by drawing attention to GOOD STUFF. When people know you tweet links to good articles about topics they like, they will come back. Tweet articles, pictures or helpful hints in your niche, or on a variety of subjects. Keep giving and sharing.

9. You still have to ask for things and make it happen.

It doesn't happen overnight. I took a little while to learn Twitter, to catch on to shortening links via bit.ly or ow.ly, the most popular. You have to invest a bit of learning time. But if you want something, have a go asking for it. You'll be surprised about what comes back.

10. Great things happen when good people get together.

I've been privileged to be part of the team who put together this year's Plymtwest - the local Twestival in the city in which I live in at the moment, Plymouth, UK. Plymtwest raised over £5k for the Chestnut Appeal, a charity which raises awareness of prostate cancer across Devon and Cornwall (@Chestnutappeal) on 24th March 2011. It was an exciting day of events including networking, fitness, lunch for the ladies and a big party in the evening. Everyone donated their time and their skills for free, including contributions to the e-book which is a collection of local businesses and individuals and their stories of how they use Twitter for their business or personal lives. It amazed me how the idea 'Social media for social good' was really displayed through the team's work and the event's success. Fabulous.