What up with Twitter? Part 1

I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had in the last few weeks about Twitter. Apparently it has reached critical mass in my group of friends. (I’ve secretly been hoping for that day for quite some time. Twitter is boring if you don’t have any friends on it!)

Twitter takes some explaining, I’ve found out. It’s actually quite useful, quite informative, and quite entertaining. So, I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. Listen up.

First some Twitter basics, so that you will understand later what I’m talking about:

1- The verb for using Twitter is “to tweet.” The noun for the updates made on Twitter is “Tweets.” People that use Twitter are sometimes called “Twits” or “Twitterers”.

2- The basic premise is that you “Follow” people or keywords, and people follow you.

3- When you follow someone, whenever they make an update, it will show up in your timeline. The timeline is somewhat like the old Facebook stalker feed, before Facebook went and got all weird and hard to use on us.

4- Tweets are by nature very short messages. They are limited to 140 characters, which is conveniently almost the same limits on text messages.

5- Twitter is very easy to update. You can tweet from almost anywhere. I tweet via text message and via two different web interfaces, depending on where I am.

6- It is very easy to get updates from those you follow. I don’t, but you can get tweets from some or all of your followers to your phone. I mostly get them on the web, but also through my chat client Digsby.

So, that’s the basics of Twitter. Tune in soon for the three reasons I use Twitter: ambient awareness, productivity, and accountability.