You wouldn’t remember anyone’s birthday without Facebook, and your resume and contacts on LinkedIn have led to several good job leads. So while there’s no doubt social networking sites can be a huge time suck, they certainly have their advantages. Now it’s time to turn your attention to Twitter—because it just might save you some dough.
For the uninitiated: Twitter is a “microblogging” site that lets users post updates, or “tweets,” of up to 140 characters in length. Your tweets appear on your profile page, and on the home page of anyone who signs up to “follow” you. In turn, you follow other Twitterers who interest you. Want to know what basketball hulk Shaquille O’Neal is thinking at any given moment? Follow @the_real_shaq on Twitter. Other top Twitterers? @BarackObama, @StephenColbert and, um, @darthvader (recent tweet: “Your Dark Lord decrees that green is the new black.”)
Unconvinced Twitter is for you? Before you dismiss the craze, consider how Twitter can actually help your bottom line. Many tech-savvy brands are using Twitter to market themselves—and offer some great deals to followers in the know. Case in point: Dell used its Twitter accounts to alert customers about sale items during the holidays, and followers of @DellOutlet get notifications for exclusive discounts on Dell products.
Other brands have followed suit. Motorola tweets its deals through @MotoDeals. Find Amazon.com specials through @amazondeals. Can’t get a customer service rep on the phone? @JetBlue and @ComcastCares actually answer customer questions in real time. So if you have a favorite brand, look for its Twitter presence to the get the scoop on discounts. As Twitter’s popularity grows, so will this phenomenon.
Then there’s the slew of Twitterers posting deals for the masses. New Yorkers will love @nycdailydeals, which tweets “New York’s Best Cheap And Free Events & Deals.” @cheapcheapcheap posts news of sales and discounts all day long: Recent offerings include notice of JetBlue’s spring sale, a Blu-Ray special on Amazon.com, and a free knife-sharpening promotion at Sur La Table. @BearableDeals tweets coupons for everything you can imagine, like 20% off at Office Depot or discounts at Chuck E. Cheese.
And since Twitter does seem to be a treasure trove of discounts, there are a couple of web sites devoted to finding those deals for you. Try CouponTweet.com for a listing of the most popular coupons posted on Twitter. (You can follow the site’s Twitter: @coupontweet.) CheapTweet.com offers a similar service.
Finally, there’s a whole group of Twitterers posting quick tips on personal finance, and I’ll try to do another post listing the best ones soon. Who are your favorite money-saving Twitterers? Tell us in the comments, and I just might include them in my next roundup. In the meantime, be sure to follow me: @Money_Ismat and my colleagues @CNNMoney and @CNNMoney_News.