Twitter: what you need to know

May 13, 2009 at 9:33 am | Posted in tech | Leave a comment

Twitter defined: created in 2006, Twitter is a micro-blogging/social networking site that is free to use. Users can post from the web, email or phone via text. Tweets (what you post) are limited to 140 characters.  Like constant Facebook status updates.

What can I use it for? Twitter is so new and flexible that this question is still being answered. Some examples:

  • personal updates “I am making toast.” “First day on the new job – wish me luck!”
  • like a search engine “What’s the best laptop to buy?” My car is leaking oil- what to do?” These only work if you have lots of people following you who might answer.
  • to give easy updates while on the move “We are in Paris today – Rome next week!” “On top of Half Dome right now.”
  • to provide news
  • to attract customers here
  • to keep track of something

Privacy on Twitter: everything you post on Twitter, except for direct messages, is public. It is possible to block a follower (you won’t get their updates) or make your entire account private. If you make it private then you approve all followers.

Consider running two accounts – one personal and one professional.  Twitter is very open and more and more employers/colleges are searching sites like Twitter to learn about their applicants.

Twitter vocab

  • tweet – a post
  • follow – those that you follow to receive their updates
  • following – those who receive updates that you post
  • @reply – @rpmteacher replies back to that user – it shows on their PUBLIC page
  • direct message (DM) – close to an email but the person must be following you AND you must follow them for this to work.  You approve them – will this be better than email?

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