If you haven’t been locked away in dungeon for the past few years, you’ve probably at least heard of something called ‘Twitter’. Twitter is a website that allows its users to post 140 character updates for what they are currently doing. Designed to allow for the use of a text message update, 140 character posts have become normal in what is now known as Micro-Blogging. The site is home to celebrities, companies, and normal people alike.
I had heard of Twitter first through the TWiT netcast network, but it wasn’t until last month that I bothered signing up. Rsbandb came out with RuneWire to have a Twitter-esque platform that was designed specifically with RuneScape in mind, and I have been content with this system since its release. However, with more and more of my posts having less and less to do with RuneScape, I decided to give the original a shot. Much like RuneWire, Twitter is where I post what I’m doing at the time of the short post. However, unlike RuneWire, there isn’t a direct feed of every member’s posts.
To find another user’s post, users can search using the recently added Search function. Other methods also exist, almost topics. By using a hash tag, a user can create a psudo-topic on anything they desire. For example, if someone wanted to talk about Project Natal, one could have the hash tag #ProjectNatal, #Natal, or something similar. Unlike other sites, these topics are in real time. If a decent percentage of the people in your area are using Twitter, you can often get up to the minute information on events unfolding around you. This has been especially helpful for disastrous events when traditional news outlets can’t provide the information people need.
Twitter began offering new users the option to begin following certain distinguished users. People such as Kevin Rose, Stephen Fry, and Barack Obama have been suggested to new users, though CNN and other news outlet’s accounts have also been recommended. These users gain their followings by providing useful information, funny posts, or something else that intrigues other users.
Once a user has gained a decent following, they can use their followers for more than simple networking. For example, if someone has a question about Blu-Ray players, they might post in their Twitter feed ‘What is the best place to find Blu-Ray player reviews?’ Such a question could be answered by many people, even if they were not following the user that posted the question, all within minutes. There would be no guarantee that an answer would come, soon or not, though the quick reactions might surprise most users not familiar with Twitter.
There are many ways to post updates to Twitter, including cell phones, the Twitter website, and a multitude of desktop applications and alternative websites. Websites such as Friendfeed allow it’s users to post to Twitter as well as many other social networking sites. Desktop applications include Twitterific, Tweet Deck, as well as my favorite, Digsby. Many other applications exist, for all operating systems and environments.
Applications exist that allow a user to post Twitter updates while playing Second Life, your phone, or even your favorite browser. Specific applications for finding real estate, news, nightlife, and advertising exist if you have a specific need in your Twittering.
If you haven’t gotten an account, go to Twitter to start your Twittering today and check out RSBandB’s Twitter. You can message me on Runewire, Twitter, or the Forums if you have any questions, or suggestions for future articles.