Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

Why do I twitter?

August 16, 2008

I was asked the other day why I keep going back to twitter? And this made me think. Why do I use twitter?

I’ve blogged in the past about what twitter is so I won’t go into the details again.

I like twitter because it is quite easy to use both on the web and through the numerous applications that have been developed for it. I’ve looked at and tried other similar services such as plurk and identi.ca but (at that time at least) didn’t really seem that accessible to me. You need to make a conscious effort to go and find out what was happening, and with plurk in particular, it was not easy keeping up with what was going on. Until yesterday it was even possible to send and receive tweets (that’s what twitter updates are called) by sms. However, that has now changed for us over here in the UK, at least for the time being. (please twitter, let us have our sms back – pretty please?)

I started using twitter after it was mentioned by Steve Lamb in one of his blog posts, having previously heard of it from both Cali Lewis and Leo Laporte. When I signed up I wasn’t really sure what I was joining, or how I’d use it. I knew no other twitter users except those mentioned. Eventually I increased the number of people I followed, and (even more slowly) the number of followers that I have increased.

Back to the point of this post, why do I use twitter? I like twitter because it has a sense of community and friendship. It is really easy to use. The simplest way to to tweet is via the web, but there are also vast range of applications for almost every platform – windows, mac, linux, symbian, WinMobile. It’s also possible to tweet by sms (and if you lucky enough to live in the US or Canada receive updates as well). It can also integrate with other services such as facebook, ping.fm and qype.

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool: a place to put your thoughts and details about what you are doing. It’s also a place to get help . The other day there was a problem with my isp and by watching twitter for related posts, I was able to keep others updated on why they were having problems. This lead to me gaining several new friends. A day or two later, I tweeted that I had a problem with FireFox and within minutes one of my new found friends came back with the solution. I hadn’t even had time to look it up on Google!

It’s also a way of finding out news before it gets on the main news services. As example I’ve heard about several earthquakes (including the Chinese one) and sports results (GB winning gold medals in the Olympics).

It’s a place to make new friends. As well as tweeting with each other, twitterers have a habit of arranging meet-ups (tweet-ups) because their social people (which is why their into social networking I suppose). You then get to actually meet the people you have conversations with and have fun.

And it’s a good leveller. Everyone is equal, whether its Joe Blogs down the road, or one of the big name bloggers such as Robert Scoble or even one of the stars of the podcasting/internet tv world such as Veronica Belmont. They will also engage in conversations with any of their twitter following.

To paraphrase someone else, there are no strangers on twitter, only people you don’t follow.

So if you’re not on twitter why not come and join us? And if you are, then pop over and follow me.

Wasting time with Social Media

May 31, 2008

I have recently been spending a lot of time on the internet being both productive and unproductive at the same time. How can this be? Well I have been productive in that I have been learning things and expanding my social network, whilst at the same time I have not actually produced anything as I seem to be spending most of my time reading and looking at stuff produced by others.

I first came into contact with social media through FaceBook. A friend told me he was posting some photos of us on his FB page and to view them I would have to create a profile of my own. That seemed reasonable, but very soon I was in the race to gain as many friends on FB as I could and wasting time on the applications. Most of these applications are, with hindsight, rather lame and a waste of time. Needless to say my use of FB has dwindled to the point where I hardly ever sign in and look at it.

I’ve moved on.

To Twitter.

Twitter is an application which allows me to post updates, in real time (when the system is working) to both my followers and also to a public time line. Followers are people who have decided to subscribe to my updates and receive them directly. The public time is, as the name suggests, a complete list of all updates available to anyone. It is possible to opt out of the public timeline, in which case only your followers will receive your updates. The nice thing about Twitter is that you can use it from almost anywhere – you can post updates from the web, from applications on the computer and from mobile phones by sms. It is a cross between email, instant messaging, newsgroups and text messaging. The big problem with Twitter at the moment is that it frequently goes down or doesn’t work as it should. This is apparently due to it being a victim of its own success by being to heavily used.

Twitter is a good way to increase your social network. You start out by following a few people you know. You then listen (for want of a better word) to one side of conversations they have with other people they follow. You decide that you are missing out on something and so you follow the person on the other side of that conversation. This has a snow ball effect, and so the number of people you follow is rapidly increasing. At the same time, you find that random people have decide to follow you and you then have the option to follow them back. Eventually you have conversations with people in other parts of the world that you have never met.

Meanwhile I read about a dozen blogs on a regular basis. And now I find that most of my new contacts from Twitter also write blogs, which obviously I read. This takes up time. A lot of time.

And now Twitter is experiencing problems and people are looking and talking about other services such FriendFeed. FF aggregates all your other social media accounts into one place. And now I’ve found Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Digg and GoogleReader amongst others. So I’m now rapidly approaching the point of information overload – I’m receiving stuff almost as fast as I can read it. I think I may have to give up working just so I can play with my new toys!

If you want to to find me on any of these, here are the details:

Twitter

FriendFeed

Stumblr

Google Shared Items

StumbleUpon

 

If you don’t see or hear from me for a while, it’s because I’m buried under a ton of content trying to digg my way out.