January 16, 2009

Twitter - The next big thing or TOO MUCH! (or how I learned to stop hating)

What is this Twitter thing I've been hearing about, and why should I care?

You may have been asking yourself this question lately (or maybe not). But I'm here to clue you guys in on the next big social media craze. Twitter!
So, you've heard of MySpace. Maybe you have a MySpace page, and even if you don't, I guarantee that you at least know someone that has a MySpace page. How about Facebook? Facebook is for the more calm, intellectual types. YouTube? Flickr? This is called Social Media.

According to Wikipedia:
Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings.[1] The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. [2] This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.
So, basically social media is:
  • computer and Internet based
  • revolves around human beings
  • is shared multi-media or text with groups or everyone
It naturally brings people together through blogs, stories, pictures, videos, games, applications stored on the Internet and accessed by anyone that the author allows.
I won't go into the specifics of each site but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I will, however tell you about my latest addiction, Twitter.

Twitter is a microcosm of social media ideas, in its simplest form. It asks you the question: What are you doing? and you answer in 140 characters or less. Basically, it lets everyone who follows you know what's going on in your life.

Isn't this the same thing as a Facebook status update?
Well, yes and no. Updating your status in Facebook is usually done once or twice a day at most and only for letting people know the really important things. Sending a Tweet (as they are called in the Twitterverse) is done as often as you want! Find a funny video? Tweet it. Want to break some recent news before anyone else? Tweet it. Announce a new blog post, party, trip, movie, tv show or book you've seen or read? Tweet it! Twitter is more of a micro-blog that you can quickly update to let people know whats going on with you and what you think is cool. You can tweet as much or as little as you want. To me its kind of like taking the pulse of social media. You get to hear about all the cool stuff first from your Twitter buddies.

So, just sign up, find some people and businesses and even celebrities to follow and people will start following you back. Its a great way to meet friends, get advice on a hobby or learn about a topic you are interested in. The trick is to follow people that will give you good information that you want to hear. If someone is ticking you off, just unfollow them. Its not as drastic as a MySpace unfriend... Check out my Twitter feed in the sidebar to your right and follow me. I'll help you --->

I may get into Twetiquette (yes, we add "Twi"to everything) in a later post but I'll leave you with the decision:

Is Twitter right for me?
  • Do you love social media? Are you slightly OCD about having to know what's going on in your friend's lives? Have you secretly ever wanted to be an exhibitionist? (not that way, dirty mind!) Are you on the Internet ALOT? Do you like knowing stuff first, ahead of everyone else? Do you like meeting minor and even major celebrities? - Then Twitter is for you! Go sign up now!
  • You've heard MySpace and Facebook are full of perverts and stalkers, so social media must be bad. You don't really use the Internet that much. You would rather go read an encyclopedia to learn about your hobby or interest. You would rather just keep to yourself. If someone wants to know about me, they can call me or write me a letter. Zzzzzz... I'm boring myself just writing this...
OK, so I'll admit, you've got to be a little geeky to like Twitter. Its takes some upkeep, but its worth it to me in the payoff of new friends and personal free advice you can glean from your Twitter friends.

Next time, Twitter desktop clients and Twetiquette

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