OK, folks. I know many of you make-out with Twitter on a daily basis, so you can skip this post. But many of you either stare blankly at me when I mention Twitter in real life, or say things like “THAT’s the box coming out of your mouth on your blog? What IS that?”
And since I leave for SXSWi in about 3 hours, and will be blogging infrequently over the next week but probably Twittering my brains out, I figured I should explain what it actually is. Although you may have to be patient with the Twitter this week. It was the little app that blew up into a BIG app at the last SXSWi, and while I am sure the folks at Twitter are planning for an explosion of messages over the weekend… all those geeks in one place? We just may bring down the whole internet, not just Twitter.
I am using Heather from NoPasaNada as my Vanna White, because, well, I CAN, she is awesome, and I GET TO MEET HER IN EXACTLY 7 HOURS!!!
Here is a beginners guide to the world of Twitter.
TWITTER (from Wikipedia): Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application.
TWITTER (from Greeblemonkey): Twitter is a way to send mini-messages to your friends all day long, either through the web, through your cell, or through stand alone applications that you download and use from your computer. The messages are 140 characters long because that is the standard text-message size. I started using it as a way to post a side-blog with little tid-bits about us that weren’t really worth a blog post, but were still fun. Then I started going over to Twitter itself and “following” people, that is, adding their “tweets” into my timeline. And I realized it’s also like a big group chat at times, particularly around big events like Oscar night or during election results. You can also direct a message “at” someone by putting the @ symbol before their name, and then their name becomes a live link. Sometimes it can get overwhelming with all the tweets flying at you, but also it can be a fun challenge to try to say what you want to say and say it in an interesting way in under 140 characters. I like being able to be anywhere, have a thought strike me, send it to 40404 on my phone and it instantly appears on both my blog and in my Twitter timeline. (Provided Twitter is stable, of course.) The other fun thing is you can “track” anything that interest you. When Crowded House was on tour I texted “track Crowded House” to 40404 and every single tweet that contained the words “Crowded House” came in as a message to my cell phone. I got to see what people thought of the tour all around the world. (They liked it.) When I got tired of it, I just sent a message that said “untrack Crowded House.” And of course I track myself because, hello, who wouldn’t?
Here is what Twitter looks like, using our lovely
Vanna Heather as an example.
(Click image for larger size)
1 – Profile Pic. People change these allll the time. And to humourous effect.
2 – Public Timeline. You can go out and see the WHOLE WORLD of Twitter. I wouldn’t recommend it. Scary. Very scary.
3 – Profile Info. A little about you and your drinking habits.
4 – Follow Button. This is where you can choose to “follow” someone or not. If you follow them, they will get an email that says you did so. If you stop, they will never know unless they are obsessive about checking their stats.
5 – Actions Pane. You can send direct messages to the people who follow you, or you can nudge them, which is kind of like poking on Facebook and serves no purpose whatsoever except being annoying. I nudge Bryan about every other day.
6 – With Others Tab. This is where you see all the tweets from people you are following.
7 – Previous Tab. This is where you see what YOU have been doing. In case you forgot.
8 – Stats Pane. How many people you follow, how many people follow you, how many messages you have favorited, how many times you have tweeted. I warn you. Do not look at Dooce or Maggie Mason’s number of followers if you want to maintain any level of self esteem. (That was some not-so-veiled kissing up since I am going to their panel this weekend. Smooch smooch).
9 – Delete A Tweet. The oh-shit button.
10 – Favorite-It Button. When you (or a friend) say something particularly witty and want to go back and reminisce over it on a cold, dark, day.
11 – Pictures of Who You Are Following. All the lovelies in your Twitterverse.
12 – Example of @. Sometimes Twitter goes crazy and makes special characters for other days. Like the hearts on Valentine’s Day. I mean I love you all dearly, but I thought I was going to punch the Twitter screen that day.
13 – Wrong. No offense to BaltimoreGal, but I grew up in Maryland and there really IS nothing at BWI airport for people to do.
14 – Block Button. aka The Stalker Button. Cause you know, there *are* crazies out there on the internet.
So. There you have it. I feel better. Do you?
Oh and don’t forget, you can always RSS a Twitter page even if you don’t want to go full guns on Twitter. That’s what my mom does for my page, since you KNOW she ain’t tweeting about the activities of Angela Lansbury on Murder She Wrote.