And what use is twitter to me?
Twitter has been around for a while now and as usual has gone done a storm in the USA. Its taking Europe a while to catch up but I think Twitter will become “the next big thing” over here.
So what is it?
Basically its a little like MSN Messenger in bite sized chunks combined with Facebook. Sounds strange right? Not really. Its a little difficult to get used to at the start in regards the hows and the whys but give it a chance and soon you will be complete a complete twit… no pun intended.
When you sign up for a free account with twitter you are able to search for friends already using the service, much like Facebook. You can then “follow” that friend meaning that as they twit (the term used to describe these bite sized chunks of information) you will see them immediately in your display window. The more fiends you are following the more twits you will receive.
Gradually you will also build up a following as more people become interested in you and your twits and the social network you develop can expand and expand.
The initial stages of twitter will mean visiting www.twitter.com to review all your twits but there are other methods. Twitter is supported by a variety of plugins and desktop software making it much more convenient for you to stay in touch with your network.
The first example is Twitbin. This plugin can be installed into the Firefox browser and at the click of a button will open a side panel showing your twits and allowing you to add your own. Handy for when your surfing the web and want to pas interesting information out from a web page you have just visited.
Another option is Twhirl. This application downloads to your desktop and presents a floating console, much like MSN Messenger. There are numerous options you can set for the style of the console and how you receive your twits but its all simple enough to see and understand.
For the bloggers among you there is of course a wordpress plugin called twitter tools allowing you to add a widget on your blog sidebar displaying your latest twits and or the responses you receive.
Finally you can also use twitter on the move with (m)twitter. Any phone with an internet connection can twit while connected ensuring your never out of touch.
So what then? What use is this to me? Isnt it simply another distraction? Yes and No. Of course its addictive, but it has its use. Because of the character limit on the twits, you can never see or even have long winded conversations, that’s basically the point. Its small, tasty morsels that you can take or leave as you see fit and also its a source of content (for the blog) keeping it interesting and fresh.
Still not convinced… well Barak Obama is. He used twitter extensively throughout his campaign to communicate with as many people as possible, hence the reason he has 165,414 followers and is also following 168,769 people. A direct line to the President of the USa cant be a bad thing can it?
His twitter account is: http://twitter.com/BarackObama if you fancy checking it out.