According to the man who is currently favourite to be the UK’s next Prime Minister, David Cameron, “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it – too many twits might make a twat.”

He precursored this comment by saying: “Politicians do have to think about what we say,” a grammatically garbled statement that’s unfortunately more Bushism than insight.

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Commentators are quick to point out the irony of Cameron’s mocking the early adopters of Twitter when he himself has lost face scrambling aboard every technological bandwagon his aides can find. PC Pro fumes that “Cameron appears to have forgotten that the Conservative Party has its own Twitter account,” though it’s a bit too easy to condemn Cameron out of hand. It seems to me he wasn’t attacking Twitter, just highlighting the fact that this frictionless method of communication must be used with care.

He should probably remember every other communication medium needs to be treated with care too. See the original video here and decide for yourself.

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So, ‘fess up. Who still doesn’t “get” Twitter?

This blog post derides Twitter, saying: “Did you lose your minds? Get a job. Are you that bored?” Well, I have a job, and that job’s in PR – a sector where Twitter is invaluable (hey, you can follow me if you like… I’m @PostcodeJim).

The gauntlet has been thrown down and I’m picking it up. Here are five reasons why Twitter’s great. Much kudos to the “PR Warrior” for his great post, which I have stolen from somewhat.

Five things you can do with Twitter right now:

1. Win friends…

Public relations depends on meeting people. It’s ridiculously easy to follow and communicate with everyone under the sun on Twitter. Someone who won’t have time to write a letter or reply to a blog post might send you a Tweet. It’s a lightweight “in” with people. The beauty of Twitter is that it’s a communication medium with very little friction – messages can go viral in an instant because it’s no effort to pass the messages along. The power of that is extraordinary.

2. … and influence people

Twitter is a medium that influences other mediums. Want to make the mainstream? Use Twitter, which has an established aim to be the “pulse” of the internet, and by association, the media.

3. Build your network

Twitter is “networking on steroids”, according to Trevor Young. What is PR without contacts? It’s one person talking to themselves in a badly-lit room. Don’t let that be you.

4. Search trends

Twitter lets you keep on top of current trends quickly and easily, before people have had the time to write any web pages on the subject, and way before Google has the chance to spider it and serve it up on the results pages.

5. Pitch

Hacks and bloggers hang out on Twitter. They do, so tough. Don’t argue with me. Want to talk to them? Get to know them with a few Tweets and make them a pitch. If they don’t like it, who cares? It was five minutes out of your day and five seconds out of theirs.

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The conclusion

There’s so much more to Twitter than meets the eye. Download Tweetdeck or some other utility so you can get the most out of it and start connecting with people: ultimately, that’s what it’s about. You can also share Twitter accounts and schedule Tweets with CoTweet.

Twitter’s just like everything else: you’ve got to have a reason to use it. As far as I can see, there are two main users of Twitter: business self-promoters (PR and the PR arm of business) and self-obsessed individuals (the average consumer or celebrity). If you don’t fall into these two categories, give up. It’s a great invention but for a lot of people, no matter how long you stare at it (and here’s a good video tutorial), no magic is going to come out of the box. If you think it will… Twitter isn’t dumb, you are.

Edit: It’s just come to my attention that Twitter has just launched a “101 for marketers.” If you’re one of the 55% of marketers who don’t know what Twitter is, head on down to class!