In today's online landscape, there is a plethora of social media outlets available to industrial and technology companies. The most difficult decision one has to make is which ones to use. To help our faithful readers find  their way through this online jungle, in this, the first section of a multiple part post,  we begin by addressing the benefits and drawbacks of Twitter. 

- This is probably the one we would recommend most wholeheartedly for technical businesses. Twitter can help you find new clients and be the medium for a meaningful and witty dialogue with business partners and collaborators, journalists and anyone working in your sector  If used effectively, Twitter  can be a successful marketing tool in its own right. It takes time and effort to build up an audience, but once you’ve got them following you, it can be very effective.

- Your engagement on Twitter can, broadly speaking, be broken into two tactics - broadcast Tweets and ineraction with other users. The latter is by far the most important. On Twitter, you should seek to listen first, then engage, then help and finally promote. If you just promte yourself noone will listen. Who wants to be the show-off at the party who is standing in the middle of the room bragging?   

- In a broadcast context, Twitter focuses more on the linking out of information by directing followers to other separate websites. Thus, it tends to be more of a quick stop for finding interesting information than a place to linger and sip a cup of coffee.

- However, Twitter has its limitations;  a character limit only allows updates - or Tweets, for the tragically hip among you - to be 140 characters in length. Whilst this can lead to a certain ingenuity when it comes to composing your update, it can be very restrictive and can prevent extended public exchanges.

Tomorrow we shall take an in-depth look at Facebook. Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon and many more to follow in future posts. We will also be addressing industry specific social neworks in a seperate post. 

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