Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Twitter This

Ever heard of Twitter? I admit I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. Now I twitter. This past week, Twitter seemed to be all over the news – both on TV and in the papers. According to USA Today,
Web measurement firm Compete says Twitter's audience grew to 2 million users in May from 200,000 in May 2007.
It has, in fact, grown so fast that its main problem is keeping its network from crashing. Sometimes you can’t sign on because there are so many people tweeting. Last week, it had something of a meltdown, although I’m not sure of the cause. Everyone (at least all the ones I know on Twitter) lost their “followers” and “following” people. (If you are “following” someone, you’re keeping up with their Tweets. If others are “followers” of you, they’re seeing your Tweets.) That wasn’t a big scare for me because I’m new so I was only following about 40 people. But there are some Tweeters who are following hundreds even thousands. But the good news is that within 24 hours Twitter had everything back where it belonged. (I envision a warehouse of brilliant Twitter nerds furiously working their magic to restore all the data for 2 million users!)

Twitter started out as a way for friends, family, and co-workers to keep up with what each other was doing via short (no more than 140 characters in any one Tweet) notes. Now it has grown into breaking news alerts and a way to promote yourself, your cause, your books, rants, raves and more. Companies cruise the Twitter world to find out what consumers are saying about them.

I hesitated joining the group because I thought the tweets of the people you were following would come via email. I dreaded the thought of a mass of emails coming in. But it doesn’t come in the form of emails. You log onto the Twitter site and your Tweets are there waiting. You can scan quickly through your messages, decide which ones you want to send a reply Tweet to, post a quick Tweet of your own and sign off.

If you’re interested in learning about Twitter, let me know. I’ll post some tips that I’ve learned since signing on.


  1. Yeah, okay. I tweet. But I hate calling it tweeting. Conceptually, I find Twitter entertaining, but this web era thing were someone has to come up with a new word, or a new definition for an existing word, has just gotten too precious. I realize google is now a verb, and we're stuck with blogging. I've even found myself explaining to the less connected that "Woot" is internet for "Yay."

    But "tweeting" via Twitter, despite my enthusiastic use of the service, just makes my teeth hurt. I do not tweet. I publish pithy personal reports and witticisms via a web site that shall remain nameless.

  2. Okay, I don't even know what Yay is, let alone Woot.

    I agree about all the cutesy words. I was saying, I was Twittering (not Tweeting) until I saw that everyone else was Tweeting.

    Help! I'm stuck on the side of the Internet Highway with a flat tire.

  3. Haha, by "Yay," I mean it in the old-fashioned sense of "Yay, the ice cream truck is here!" Except on the intertubes, people say, "Woot."

  4. Why? Why Woot instead of Yay? Sometimes, things make no sense.

    Keep the Yay, ditch the Woot, and send the ice cream truck to my Hood.

  5. Young people create these "places" and they want to use their own language. It's not about clearly communicating so much as belonging to the "in" crowd. Sounds suspiciously like my own youth. I mean, what we didn't do to be hip. And now we truly are, alas.

    You did give me pause, Helen, thinking about all the bird brains behind the Twitter repairs last week. Har!


  6. They were able to get Twitter back up and running and everyone's followers listed again pretty quickly, I thought.

    What do you mean, we would have done anything to be hip in our day? I still have my suede lace up knee high boots. Don't have the hot pants, though.


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