Twitter first started in 2006, and now, in 2008, I’m playing around with it and enjoying it. I’ve known about it since 2006, but why didn’t I start using it back then?
There’s a number of reasons, but the main one was that I didn’t understand its value. And if you’re not using it right now, you probably don’t too. That’s ok, because apparently it’s not for everyone. (Well, what is?) But if you’re curious and want to learn a bit more about it, there’s a good article here that I’ve found. I’ll summarise a few interesting points from it below.
Make the right friends
Twitter allows you to make friends by ‘following’ them. Lots of friends. So many of them, in fact, that you might get overwhelmed with messages that become meaningless to you. You might want to consider following only those you know, or those that are presenting information and updates that’s actually of interest to you. Are they providing you with value? That’s what you need to ask yourself.
As you find people to follow, remember that you can stop following them just as easily as you can follow them. They won’t take it personally. Don’t be afraid to search for topics or conversations or people or interests that reflect your own interests.
Put it where you want it
You can use Twitter via the website, or on your IM program (eg. MSN Messenger, etc) by adding firstname.lastname@example.org as a contact. You can also use your phone for SMS messaging to and from Twitter, as well as Gmail and GoogleTalk. There are Firefox add-ins you can use, and even standalone programs (I now use Twhirl), as well as being able to subscribe via RSS.
Address your followers
Just like you’ll find people to follow, some of them – and others – will find you and start following you. ‘Followers’ are subscribing to updates from those they’re following. When you send a note via Twitter (by the way, each note can be no more than 140 characters, so you might have to be concise with your messages) it goes to everyone that’s following you. You can also send message directly to individuals by typing D USERNAME followed by your message. It sends a message Directly to them. You can also reply to one of your followers by typing @USERNAME. All of your followers get the message, but they’ll know you’re replying to one person.
There are plenty of ways you can use Twitter, and plenty of articles out there on the internet on how to make good use of it for yourself. You can find new friends, you can even find answers to questions or assistance with problems you might have. You can find or promote business opportunities, job prospects, parties, friendship groups, all kinds of things. You can use it to provide information or status updates to other social networking websites like Facebook, which allow integration with Twitter.
What you do with it is entirely up to you, and I hope this post has been of use to you if you want to give Twitter a try. Make sure you add me as your friend! 🙂
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