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Tweeting out around the World: discovering Twitter

by David Brewster on March 24, 2009

in Career,Innovation,Technology

What’s a bandwagon if not for jumping on? So it is that I’ve found myself quite regularly tweeting, retweeting and even twooshing over the last few weeks. So it is that I find myself joining nearly every magazine and newspaper in the Western world and writing about the newest kid on the internet block: Twitter.

What’s the twhype all about?

Twitter is so simple that it almost defies description. It is a website on which you can publish short public messages of no more than 140 characters. Ostensibly the idea is to post updates – ‘tweets’ – about what you’re doing. Other users can follow the progress of your updates and you can follow theirs.

It’s trumpeted as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family without the need to write at length and without expectation of a reply. So, for instance, the travelling business person might send updates over a day like: “plane arrived on time – remarkable!”; “meeting went on and on but we got what we wanted”, and “why are Melbourne taxi drivers always lost?”.

While all this drama is unfolding, this person’s friends and family – ‘followers’, in tweetspeak – can visit the Twitter website at any time and check on their loved one’s progress.

Twitter is a bit of a cross between text messaging, instant messaging and blogging, while not really being any of those. The jargon is ‘micro-blogging’.

Just another source of information to add to our already info-crowded lives? Possibly. Yet, provided tweetcrastination and tweetaholism can be avoided, Twitter has intriguing potential as a communication tool.

Like so many internet ideas, including the web itself, Twitter has quickly outgrown its developers’ original intentions. Innovative users, mobile friendliness and a free programming interface have propagated a cornucopia of new applications for Twitter.

Twitter has become a networking tool, a customer service tool and a word-of-mouth tool. Twitter users are breaking the news before the media hears about it. Twitter can help you find a job or fill a job. Twitter can help you sell your products or your politics. Twitter can help you stick to your diet or quit smoking. The list continues to grow…

Yet it is still early days. Twitter may be no more than another bubble floating over the internet landscape, ready to burst at any moment. Like many, I was suspicious at first. But Twitter is different. Its simplicity, its brevity and its inherent informality (there isn’t much room for spin in 140 characters) all work to support an interesting new way of communicating.

It might work for you or it might not. The only way to find out is to get out there amongst the tweeple and give it a twy!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Leung March 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I started to use twitter.
That is good to keep updates from my friends.

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Paul March 24, 2009 at 4:36 pm

The idea of joining twitter terrifies me. Like confronting Dracula on a dark night.
My situation is one of 24/7 “overwhelm” when even my phones and emails drown me. Just the mere thought of adding a heap of possibly low-priority twitter static to the intensity literally sends my pulse rate soaring, my stomach knots up, and my throat tightens. Probably need help ! Surely fun for some, but I could not cope with more. I desperately need a desert island.

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