Monday, April 20, 2009

Everyone is all a "Twitter!"

Spring is in the air, flowers and trees are blooming, the days are growing longer, but the “tweeting” may not be coming only from the birds.

Since it first was introduced in 2006, “Twitter,” a free social networking and micro-blogging service, has gained fans and noteriety worldwide. The list of those who post on Twitter seems to grow exponetially each month. Many of our elected officials regulary Tweet or should I say their staffs Tweet for them. You can follow the daily routine of our President and the First Lady on Twitter. Each of them tweets about what is happening in the White House. Well again, I imagine both have minions doing the writing and posting and they may not tell us everything that goes on in the Oval Office.

If you look closely at the first paragraph of this column, you will note that it has exactly 140 characters (letters and spaces included). This is the maximum length of a single Tweet or message that you can post on Twitter. If you are going to be successful using Twitter you need to write concisely.

The messages you write as a Sender are displayed on your Twitter Home Page and are delivered to other users who have subscribed to read them. These readers are called Followers. As a Sender you can share your comments with anyone who has a Twitter account or you can restrict your messages to only your friends, colleagues or family.

The messages can be distributed and read in a variety of ways. You can use a regular computer and an Internet connection, a portable device like a “Blackberry” or any mobile phone with text message capability. While Twitter is free, some of the message retieval may not be. Be sure to check with your mobile phone carrier before you have Twitter configured to send the Tweets to your phone. If you follow only a few of the more prolific users, you can get hundreds of messages in a single day. At 10 cents per message you may be tweeting a different song at the end of the month.

You can get a Twitter account by going to and signing up. It is free and once you sign up you can search from millions of subscribers and choose which ones you want to follow. It is not only individuals using Twitter. Companies, organizations, TV and radio stations all use Twitter to stay in touch with employees, members, viewers and listeners.

Twitter is not for everyone. Some find the steady stream of information, from the ridiculous to the sublime, like drinking from a fire hydrant. Too much stuff. Others find Twitter a great way to stay in touch with friends and family separated by geography or hectic schedules. It is worth a look.

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