Twitter is the talk of the town lately, and it’s supposed to be revolutionizing the Internet as we know it (or so they say), so if you’re like me and take pride in being an early adopter, you better start tweeting. First things first though, so I’ll start with the basics, like: What is twitter?
“Twitter is a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives. Friends near or far can use Twitter to remain somewhat close while far away. Curious people can make friends. Bloggers (that’s me) can use it as a mini-blogging tool. Developers can use the API to make Twitter tools of their own. Possibilities are endless!”
Sounds good right? That’s what I thought too. So how does it work, you ask?
Well, in as few sentences as possible, like this:
You send twitter updates in three ways: text message from your mobile phone, type a message on the Twitter site, or instant message from AIM, Jabber or Gtalk. Your message is sent to your very own twitter site, and your twitter followers can then view that message in a variety of ways, including text message, instant message, or directly on the twitter site.
Simple right? Exactly. That’s the beauty of twitter. It’s like instant messaging, except you can only read your friend’s away messages. Or it’s like a blog, but you can only read the title. Or it’s like…well, you get the picture.
So now what?
Well, first you need to sign up, so head on over to twitter and set up an account.
Got one? Good.
Now you’re going to want to find users to add to your friend list. First (of course), you can add me. Then, you can add a few blogebrities, such as Chris Pirillo, Christian Montoya, Defamer, Jason Calacanis, Leo Laporte, Mashable, Paris Lemon, Robert Scoble, Scott Beale, and Steve Rubel. Those are just some of the more famous users, and there are plenty of fake celebrities to choose from (though I don’t really see the point in that), but that list will at least get you started.
Now that you’ve got friends, you need to find a way of receiving messages.
The default method is to have them text messaged to you, IMed to you, or you can read them directly off of the twitter site, but neither of those methods are very efficient. A better option is to download a dedicated twitter program.
If you’re on a Mac, you’re going to use the very professional looking twitteriffic. Twitteriffic is a small program that sits in your menu bar and notifies you every time someone tweets, as well as letting you add your own tweet directly from the pop-up window.
If you’re on a PC, you’re going to use the equally beautiful twitteroo. Twitteroo also lets you know when someone tweets, and it also lets you add your own tweet directly from your desktop.
You want more? Well, if you’re on the Mac, you’re in luck. Coda Hale put together a great piece of script that lets you tweet using Quicksilver, and then Ted Leung modified it so that Growl can let you know that your tweet was successful.
Still not convinced? Well, you’re not alone. Kathy Sierra over at the Creating Passionate Users blog wrote a great post called “Is Twitter TOO good?”, that asks the question: “Does twitter make us too connected?”.
Whatever your opinion, twitter is definitely something that’s going to be talked about more and more in the coming weeks, so stay ahead of the curve and get your tweet on, because you never know what the next hot tech is going to be.