Or : a shift from continuously bookmarking things about twitter, to actually writing about it.
Vat Ist Twitter?
It’s a microblogging service, with the same character limit as an SMS. You can send an SMS from your phone, or a message from a desktop app, or a browser exension, and this gets added to your public timeline eg twitter.com/your_name. By subscribing to various friends, artists and organisations, a continuous feed of their daily updates can be viewed, and messages can be sent directly between users. Think of it as the status updating feed from all your Facebook friends, without any of the other bits that come with Facebook.
Or as people who have studied it at university say :
“Twitter is a social messaging service that allows users to stay connected to other users, despite geographic differences, through instant updates of the everyday minutia and activities of their friend’s daily lives.
Twitter is a tool that allows users to have some sense of where and what their friends and family in their social network are up to. It’s a manner of establishing and maintaining a connection without geographic proximity to prevent isolation in an increasingly mediated world. The immediacy of response establishes a presence that may not have been otherwise acknowledged.”
How Crap Is It?
If Facebook friend updates annoy you, steer clear of twitter. On the other hand, if you like the idea of stepping out of the FB walled garden, and having a permalink connected to each of your updates, so you can refer to them, can refer to others, so conversations can develop, and like the idea of being able to receive key updates from important people via computer or SMS, then maybe it’s worth a look.
From this simple set-up, quite a range of behaviours and possibilities are emerging. Media hounds and news junkies are finding it fantastic for discovering breaking news. Friends are using it to get quick responses on whether a certain movie or band is worth catching. Twitter users have staged a mock Martian Invasion (ala ‘War of the Worlds’, the Orson Welles radio play that caused widespread panic when it was broadcast). Groups are using to it organise gatherings. Some are posting the Ulysses novel bit by bit, others are creating ‘nanofiction’ for the 140 character limit. Send URLs of interest straight from a Firefox browser, or send messages from Second Life. Got a question you just can’t find the answer for, but suspect one of your friends knows? Post a twitter message, and answers are usually pretty quick.
Popular twitter-folk : twitter.com/MarsPhoenix ( a regular series of updates written in the voice of the robot exploring mars recently ), /snoopdogg, /Brian_Eno, /StephenColbert, /algore, /MCHammer, /WilliamShatner, /stevewozniak etc etc
1. Gather a big list of contacts, this makes a huge difference. Twitter isn’t about reading every single message, but having a stream of messages flowing that are continuously related to current time. When you feel curious, dip in, see what people are writing / doing / recommending / asking etc etc. Grab what you need, and dip out.
Find people : http://search.twitter.com/, http://www.twingly.com/microblogsearch, http://www.celebritytweet.com, http://www.Tweetag.com/, http://twitterusergroup.com ( has groups and meetups for sydney, melbourne, canberra, brisbane, etc etc )
2. Get a desktop Twitter app. This doesn’t mean you have to leave it turned on all the time and drown in the musings of the masses, but means you are much more likely to get benefits from it, instead of going to your twitter.com/username webpage. The desktop apps also allow you to group friends together, separate more personal messages, and generally organise the information flow better in a convenient interface.
Find apps here : www.twapps.com
Arranged in categories of desktop ( mac, pc, linux ), firefox plug-ins, and other web-apps.
3. Try Some Twitter Extensions :
mrtweet.net – looks at your account, and recommends people for you to connect with.
www.tweetdeck.com – aims to evolve the existing functionality of Twitter by taking an abundance of information i.e twitter feeds, and breaking it down into more manageable bite sized pieces.
ping.fm – updates your twitter account, facebook, myspace, etc etc dozens of places in one go..
4. Play with your settings so you can send and receive messages from your phone, maybe filtered so you are only receiving the important folk you need.
5. Play with # hashtags :
Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.
eg a post with #Obama takes u to a page http://www.hashtags.org/tag/obama that shows all the recent posts with that hashtag.