Friday, April 11, 2008

All of a-Twitter!

I am Twitterer. (Possibly a twit!)

I have finally entered the "Twitterverse" and sent my first couple of "tweets" (one of which was to promote the new communal blog, Towards 2011, though I think I need some more "followers" to do that really.)

I've been meaning to check out the whole social networking thing for ages and have just joined Facebook this week too. I think I may be the last person to discover it all, but for anyone else who has been thinking, "Must try that!" but hasn't got round to it because they are also thinking, "Don't know how to start, far too complicated, got enough to do already!" ...

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

How does Twitter work?

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service, allowing people to stay in touch by short posts, known as "tweets." These can be posted by instant messenger from your computer, or SMS from your mobile phone, and are delivered by email, IM or RSS. Messages on Twitter can also be exchanged via a third-party application, such as Facebook.

What are you doing?

Twitter is built around the question, "What are you doing?" Answers vary from the personal to the professional, but everything on Twitter is very short and sweet; posts are only up to 140 characters long and profiles are only one line of text, but you can add a picture and your website/blog URL.

Who are you following?

Like Facebook, you can limit the people who see your profile and posts to your own circle of friends (or "followers") and you choose who to follow yourself. You can choose to follow friends and family, or professional contacts, or people who have the same interests as you, or people who say really useful stuff ... like the first person I chose to follow, SallyQ! Sally is definitely a woman worth following and posts on Twitter about all sorts of writerly things.

How do you start Twittering?

Setting up a profile on Twitter is REALLY easy and includes the option to add any friends who are already on there, then when you log in, your home page includes all the recent posts from the people you are following.

Links for Twitterers

Mark Glaser's excellent 'Guide to Micro-Blogging and Twitter' (dated 15th of May, 2007, but still very relevant and very helpful) includes a beginner's guide, useful tips and advice, a glossary and a great list of resources.

ReadWriteWeb has a list of various articles about Twitter, including Sarah Perez's 'Five Ways to Find More Friends on Twitter' in which she explains five useful web apps to help you find the best people to follow on Twitter.

Kathy Sierra, of Creating Passionate Users, has posted some interesting thoughts on the the problem of interuption (and the disruption to creativity and productivity) provided by Twitter and other social networking such as email, IM, blogs, Facebook et al. In her post, 'The Asymptotic Twitter Curve' Kathy provides lots of links to other musings about Twitter and to some possibly much-needed productivity resources. Along with a warning about how addictive Twitter is! Oh dear ...

Twitter is a form of live commentary and as such, even bearing in mind the possible creativity/productivity challenges, it has huge (and very exciting) possibilities. Consider the following comment from Patrick Ruffini, quoted by Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine, in his tribute to Twitter:

"Traditional news operated on a 24-hour cycle. Blogs shortened this to minutes and hours. Twitter shortens it further to seconds. It’s not right for every piece of information. But when it comes to instantly assembling raw data from several sources that then go into fully baked news stories, nothing beats it."

Jason Kottke has written another interesting review of Twitter, which I found very helpful as a beginner. Again, it's dated last year (I'm always sooo behind the times!) but he makes some useful observations and discusses (and provides links to) some of the applications. Here's what Jason said a year ago:

"Twitter is the first thing on the web that I've been excited about in ages. Like years. The last thing was probably Flickr. (Talk about burying the lede.) It's just so damn simple but useful. Again, reminds me of weblogs in that way."

I wonder what he thinks now?

Twitterer or Twit?

Well, I'm off to see if I can figure out how to link my Twitter profile to my Facebook profile ... but that's it! No more social networking for me. While I can see the advantages and am excited about the possibilities, I also recognise the possible pitfalls. And when it comes to time limitations, blogging and article writing are the priorities at the moment. So I'm sticking to Blogger, Facebook and Twitterer (in that order!)

Are you on Twitter?

Who do you follow, who follows you?

What are you doing?



KAREN said...

I'm scared if I start Twittering, Beboing, Facebooking and MySpaceing I'll never, ever, ever get any writing done at all!!

Maddie Moon said...

I hadn't even heard of twitter. I did join Facebook as I was invited to through a writers' group, but I haven't actually added any people. Like Karen, I have a feeling it could be another major distraction for me and I don't really need any more!

Annieye said...

I'll try and find you on facebook and twittering sounds right up my street, as I'm often accused of it anyway!

Moondreamer said...

Haha! Yes, Karen I worry about that too. And I worry that it will be as addictive as blogging, because then i really will be in trouble!

Am going to give it a go for a while and see what happens, I can always give up if it causes problems (oh dear ... isn't that what all addicts say?!)


Maddie, have been hearing about Twitter for a while but avoided doing anything about it ... glad I did though, already have some positive results!

Will do an update post soon.


Annieye, it would be great to hook up on facebook! I'm Dianne Murphy-Rodgers on there ... and if you get round to trying out Twitter, am D_MurphyRodgers on there.


Quillers said...

It is possible to syndicate your normal blog to Twitter. I do it with mine. Now if I can ever remember how I did it.

Oh, I know. Put Twitter Feed into the search engine and it comes up with the tools for you to do it. What it does then is puts the first line of every one of your blog posts, and people follow the links to read the whole lot. It saves you having to keep both your blog and twitter updated.

Scott said...

Twitter is a great resource for sure. I like your blog, it looks like you have been cranking out the content. At some point you should consider getting your own domain and shifting to a wordpress based blog. You can actually import all your previous posts... -- as you can see, I started there as well :)

Moondreamer said...

Sally, thank you! I'll try that.

Still getting to grips with it but am a definite fan of Twitter, I have discovered some great new blogs and websites. (I just wish I could reciprocate with interesting links and info!)


Scott, thank you for visiting, lovely to see you!

Yes, the possibilities of Twitter are amazing, I think it's an excellent resource.

Thank you for the positive feedback and great advice. I've been thinking about looking into wordpress, more for StudentMum or Freelance Learning Curve, as they are more professional, or at least fit a niche.

So many new things to discover!