Emma’s Tech Tip – Twitter

This week’s tech tip will focus on twitter. What is twitter? I’m glad you asked. Twitter is one of those applications whose value proposition is hard to describe. In fact, once I tell you what it does you will probably scratch your head and say, “Why would anyone want to do that?” or “That sounds pretty useless”. Both reactions are normal and expected. In fact, that was my opinion in the beginning, and to some degree it still is. But being the early adopter that I am, I am giving it the old college try, and at the moment, it doesn’t suck.

Twitter is a social networking service that allows you to post personal messages about yourself. Think of it as a place to deposit the random thoughts you have during the course of a day while you are sitting in traffic, waiting for the bus, nailing that job interview, listening to the cell phone conversation of the jackass sitting next to you at the airport, etc. The idea is to keep you connected (in a disconnected world) with friends and family by sharing information that lets them know what you have been up to, even if you have not talked in a week, or a month, or a year. Of course this works best if you have someone to share your “tweets” with.

One caveat of this service is that the messages you post are limited to 140 characters. So your thoughts must be succinct. This limitation means that you can “tweet” (that’s what it is called when you post a message) via text message from your cell phone. That is where the service really shines because all my inspired thoughts come when I am away from my computer.

You can also integrate your tweets into your website or blog as I have done (see “Twitter Updates” on the left side of this page). Now you can all see what the gerbils in my brain are up to.

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