The real problem with Twitter is the noise of course. People start to tweet on the #Haiti hashtag. Everything from prayers to political notices, to ways you can help posts. If you were after news you would have to sift through it pretty carefully.
If you were after specific news, like about emergent issues or situations where immediate assistance is required, then this is not going to do you any good at all.
Noise can be a bad thing on Twitter, but you can also make it work for you if you are smart about it. But only if you have fans and not just followers.
You collect followers mechanically. It is not hard to do. But the value they add is infinitesimally small. Its like shouting into a noisy crowded room hoping someone will take notice of you.
Fans (or Friends? Not the Facebook type but the real sort.) on the other hand, magnify your message.
Fans will take a hashtag you started, and if it grabs their attention, they will push it forward to their own band of fans.
Fans re-tweet you when you are entering a discussion on a popular hashtag, thereby increasing your chances of speaking to a wide audience.
Then using BudURL, Twitter Search and Google Analytics you can measure any surge in the hopes of repeating the performance.
Want to know who the followers are?
There the people who send out #FollowFriday (#FF) tweets with the twitter names of everyone they're following. No explanation, no sincerity, and absolutely no value except the attempt to ingratiate you to them in some fashion.
The ones who game he system via Refollow and other mechanical methods of upping their follower counts.
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