I think there's some obvious benefit in that, but I think that singular goal overlooks other, sometimes even more important uses for Twitter.
So, for example, there is the opportunity to be made aware of all kinds of new happenings and sources of information out there. Already I have been made hip to several movie reviews, movies, blog posts on technical matters, music and artists I would have never otherwise known about.
But there's more to it than that.
Here are some case studies of connections I've made with people on Twitter, presented in order of occurrence:
1) My new friend Clara:
Clara Aranovich is a very smart, very lovely film grad student at USC. She found me on Twitter because we were both finalists in consideration for the Sundance Screenwriting Lab. We've become good friends and a lot of good things have come out of it.
2) Jesse Dylan and the good people of FreeForm
Jesse Dylan, the acclaimed commercial director, who directed the Obama "Yes We Can" video and also founded the production companies Form and FreeForm started following me on Twitter. It took me a second to realize who he was, but as soon as I did, I followed him back and reached out. I arranged to meet with him, though our meeting was twice cancelled. I persevered, and we finally met. He was very gracious and gave me lots of advice and encouragement. I told him that I wanted to learn from his model of both commercial and non-profit work and that what he was doing was exactly the kind of work I wanted to do. I offered my services for his non-profit work pro-bono, but he told me that anybody that works for him gets paid. That was meaningful I thought.
I then received a tour of the facilities and had an extended meeting with the Director of Development at FreeForm. We've been in touch and discussed some future projects. No work as of yet, but regardless, I value the friendship and finding a community of like-minded individuals who are making work with the highest ethics and aesthetics in their content. I'll probably blog more about this unique relationship in the future.
3) Duraid Munajim, Director of Photography for Son of Babylon
I tweeted about this film as soon as I arrived back Park City. It was by far my favorite of the films I saw at Sundance. I tweeted exactly that, and it was retweeted by SundanceBuzz. In turn, the DP's girlfriend retweeted, and then the DP himself retweeted it and started following me on Twitter. This was Duraid Munajim. Duraid offered to meet with me and have some coffee in Park City, but I was already gone. I said let's talk after the Sundance dust has settled.
Then in February, I sent him another follow up e-mail. i didn't hear from him that month, but then a few days ago, he told me he was here in LA. Today we met and it was a fantastic connection. He gave me his reel, told me war stories from the set of Son of Babylon (almost literally, since they were shooting in Iraq) and we generally talked shop and life. And since my father is of Persian descent and Iraqi-born, and Duraid is half-Iraqi and half-Persian, we had a lot in common.
So what's my point? My point is that Twitter helps you connect with like-minded people who you can build personal and professional relationships with, and if you focus on giving, you will naturally receive.