A question that I have been running into more and more frequently lately is, “What is Twitter and do I need to be on it?”
I’ll answer the first half of the question first and deal with the second half of this question in a later post.
In short (ironically enough), Twitter on its most basic levels is a microblogging service. Originally focused on the cell phone text messaging (also known as SMS) limit of 140 characters per message, Twitter is designed to allow people to write short messages about what they are doing, where they are and interesting things that have happened.
Fundamentally, little has changed in the base service. After you go to their site and sign-up for an account, there won’t be much there until you do a couple of things. First, you’ll want to start to “follow” other Twitter users. Once you start doing that, you’ll see their posts underneath your message bar on the web site. If you’d like to follow me, I’m Dustin_Gervais (That’s an underscore, by the way, which you can get by using the shift key, with the hyphen.) As you can see, I don’t have a lot of posts on the site for reasons that I’ll talk about next time.Anyway, many folks have their accounts set up to automatically follow anyone who is following this. I personally don’t recommend this because it can easily become overwhelming to keep up with so many people, many of which you don’t really know.
After you’ve found a few folks to follow, then you can try sending out a couple of messages yourself. How exactly you use the system is up to you, but for what it is worth, I tend to follow people who have interesting things to say on topics I’m interested in.
Hopefully, this brief primer gives you enough of an understanding to either investigate further or figure out that it isn’t really for you, and I’ll talk a little more about some potential uses next time.