As is typical on the weekends I talked to my oldest brother. We are very different people with very different interests. I am a fairly liberal democrat and he is slowly becoming more of a conservative republican. I am a software developer and he is in sales and marketing. I am mostly an introvert, and as a salesman, he tends to be highly extroverted.

Why do I tell you this? Well, today our conversation converged on technology and he is not really tech savvy. He uses email and surfs the web a little bit, but not much more than that. Specifically, we talked about social networking and other social tools like Twitter and FriendFeed. My brother joined LinkedIn this summer as he had heard some things about it. Being in sales and marketing, he figured it would be a decent tool to use. Of course he asked me how to use it, and I forwarded an appropriate post from Chris Brogan. We had more talk about LinkedIn, as he was not sure how he should be using it. I am a big believer that there is no “right” way to use tools. If the tool exists, see if you can find a way to use it. After I told him the same thing, he mentioned that he had an email conversation with a woman regarding LinkedIn and specifically that the only contact information he found for her was for a LinkedIn profile. This is a person who works for a local newspaper as a journalist and blogger.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

That is when the conversation changed, and I was not ready to answer. He asked, what is this Twitter thing? Obviously, my first thought was that he saw something on CNN. No, he said that this blogger had mentioned it in her post about getting started in social networking for small businesses. Personally, I was shocked that a local paper was starting to talk about Twitter. So, we started talking about Twitter. Disappointingly, I can not tell him how to use Twitter, as I have asked the same question myself to various people. Because he knows that I use various sites, he asked what I specifically use often and what benefit he could get from them. I told him about FriendFeed. The general concept behind FriendFeed was generally too much for him. I agreed, saying that it is really for people like myself who are information addicts. For someone just getting started with social tools, FriendFeed is definitely too much. I find it to be an “advanced” social tool. Twitter is definitely something that someone new can just jump into.

So, we have seen CNN using Twitter. Now we have a local paper and people like my “non-tech” brother talking about Twitter. So, be prepared the mainstream is coming. My question to you is how do you explain what Twitter is and how do you use it? What benefits can a small business get by using Twitter? We need to be prepared with this information, because the masses are coming and they will have a lot of questions.

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