Friday, July 25, 2008

Getting into Twitter

I first heard about Twitter almost two years ago at a MicroSoft conference in Las Vegas. At the time I wrote it off as just one of the many "killer apps" that were being shopped around. Why should I care about a site that seemed to be nothing more than a web based message board where the only topic is what I am up to? So it came and went from my radar pretty fast.

But then recently it reappeared seemingly everywhere all at once. Folks were mentioning it in conversation when they needed to reference an example of web 2.0. Coworkers were updating their Twitter status on their BlackBerry in an attempt to fight boredom during a meeting. And it has been a constant conversation piece on Diggnation podcasts (one of my favorite podcasts and a must if your into technology, pop culture or off beat news).

Despite all the exposure I am not sure how Twitter seemed to make sense for me now and why I have adopted it as my digital journal. Maybe I have given up trying to stay in touch with people through conventional means like conversation over dinner. The best way to know what I did last weekend is to check Facebook and if your one of those rare individuals who cares what I am up to in real time, follow me on Twitter.

Don't get me wrong, Twitter is not for everyone. First of all you have to be comfortable with mobile web (the point of it is to add content "on the go", not just when you sit in front of a computer). Here are a few suggestions when you are new to Twitter that should help the adoption:
  • Once you have your account start by finding feeds that interest you. Find the athletes, celebrates, friends and companies that you want to follow.
  • Start to post comments, thoughts, links, etc. that you think are worth sharing
  • Use hashtags (for instance, #Jeter if your a Yankees fan) in your posts. This helps others search for posts on topics they care about.
  • Be conversational with @ tags. For instance, if you wanted to send a comment to me you might say "Great post about Twitter by @robertmansfield".

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