I'm not trying to strike paranoia in anyone, but you'd be surprised to see who's following you - on Twitter. At the time of this writing,TILE Magazinehad 341 followers (www.twitter.com/TileMagazine). Each day, at least two new tile- or design-related organizations decide that the information we offer is worth following. If you’re not familiar with Twitter, then let me offer you the following crash course.

Twitter describes itself as “a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages. People write short updates, often called ‘Tweets’ of 140 characters or fewer. These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.”

Now, if someone really liked our latest tweet, then they’ll share it with their followers by Retweeting our message (a re-posting or re-sending of the original tweet). Retweeting is comparable to forwarding an email you received for the benefit of passing along the information it contains.

I asked Cedar Mountain Tilemaker’s Jared Lydahow Twitter has benefited his company. “Twitter continues to give me direct, frictionless access to distributors and showrooms, reps and buyers. Almost all of which were unfamiliar to me before Twitter. We are now having ongoing conversations and trust is being built. This makes it easier to get in touch with those responsible for purchasing/making decisions. I prefer recommendation from someone inside [the] company/organization before I make first contact with [the] decision maker. This immediately lends me legitimacy in their eyes.”

Also good to know is that following someone is not like the friend requests you receive on social networking sites. According to Twitter’s support page, “someone who thinks you’re interesting can follow you, and you don’t have to approve, or follow back. Deciding to follow back and changing your mind later is fine - just visit the person’s profile page and un-follow; Twitter does not send a notification when you unfollow someone.”

If you’d like to see who we’re following, then visit www.twitter.com/TileMagazine. I think you’d be surprised who you’ll find!