How Do You Use Twitter?

How do you use Twitter?

I have been active on Twitter now for many months, but I definitely consider myself to be in the “getting the hang of it,” stage and enjoying myself at the same time.  I’m @ReadingCatholic, and there I post my blog posts here, re-tweet others’ interesting posts, and links.  Hey, follow me–there’s the Twitter button on the right column of this blog.

Only recently, I’ve begun having conversations something along the line of Facebook conversations, some with people I know in real life, and others not.  Sometimes I feel like a less-funny Amber Dusick as she describes why she is no good at Twitter.  Even though my kids are not as small as hers, I find that offline life is so demanding with family, friends and non-tech goals, that I find myself entering and leaving Twitter conversations at odd times.   That’s true of Facebook, as well. (I find myself responding to Twitter people days later, “belated thank you for the RT!”).  At the same time, I love how I have been able to connect with people around the world about Catholic topics, my love of books, and just general interest topics.

Recently, the diocesan newspaper I write for, The Catholic Post, has started using Twitter more regularly.  For now, I am the person most often posting “tweets” on the account, with my editor monitoring and checking in.   When I was discussing this with him we both wondered why I was not more connected with local Twitter users.  I have more than 300 followers, and follow almost 500 people (update: 500), but so far as I can see, only a handful of people I know live within the diocese of Peoria.  There must be many more people active locally on Twitter.

So I set about trying to change that by following local news media, like @pjstar, the Twitter account for the Peoria Journal-Star; and various reporters I recognize from reading the paper.  Then I moved onto the local television stations like WEEK-TV (free advice to the WEEK people:  make your Twitter buttons easier to find on your home page).  And I do know several friends who have joined Twitter in the last few weeks, but they aren’t super active yet.

So here’s my question:  if you are active on Twitter, is it mostly with people outside of your geographic area, or within your area?  Do you consider that a problem, especially if your primary audience (like for the Catholic Post) is local?  How do you utilize Twitter if what you do is mostly local?