Back to Basics - Twitter

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amanda's picture


imageTim asked in a poll - Do you Twitter? Some people asked "What is Twitter?" and this article should explain it for you.

First up, what does Twitter have to say about Twitter?
They say this: "What is Twitter? Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

Basically, Twitter is another way to stay connected online, but with some differences to your usual Instant Messenger.


Twitter is online based, but there are applications you can download in order to use it. The most popular client is Twhirl. Twhirl is a box on your desktop that you can chat in. You add people, and people add you. Anything you write in your Twhirl box, is visible to anyone you're connected to on it. It's a group connection. Same goes the other way, If you've added anyone, you see everything they write.

What would you say on it?

You can randomly say what you're doing, so everyone can read what your status is. Or you may have a question, or a statement you'd like to make about something, you put that statement or question out there to all your Twhirl/Twitter connections, and anyone can respond to your question or your statement if they choose too.

What do people use it for?

The following comments by Todd, Helene Gidley and Missy Caulk were found at Pure Visibility.

Todd: I started using twitter to keep a small group of people periodically up-to-date on what I was working on and where I was working, both personally and for Not An MBA. What I learned (and what keeps me using twitter) is that it works best in the other direction. It lets me stay up-to-date on what other people are doing without the subtle demand for a personal response that comes with e-mail and IM. It’s also a great way to find a thing or two (or ten) to read when I have a minute of down time.

Helene Gidley:

Twitter lets me get to know business acquaintances at a deeper level than what would happen normally given collective time commitments. I love hearing about what they are doing - and to share what I’m doing as well so people can get to know me a little better too.
All in all, Twitter is permission voyeurism.

Missy Caulk: I love twitter and keep up on twitbin if your a FF user. I use it and follow people in MI and MI sports, don’t have to check my RSS feeds all the time. Lots of links have taken me to stuff it would have taken years to find.


Here is an interview with Tim about Twitter:

A: How does Twitter benefit you?
T: 1. I'm able to promote blog posts to my followers. 2. I'm able to request help from my followers on various questions. 3. I'm able to provide help & answers to people I'm following.

Is there anything you don't like about Twitter?
T: The web site won't leave you logged in permanently.

What do you most enjoy about Twitter?
T: Contact with professionals in my field.

Is there anything about Twitter that you recommend for anyone who's interested in using it?
T: 1. Try it. 2. Follow everyone who follows you, to start with. And then stop following people who annoy you. 3. Try a client first.


Also, Darren has written an article titled "The Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers" - see ProBlogger for this article.


Using Twitter - Use the Web or a Twitter Client

You can use Twitter on the web site, or through a client such as..

Twhirl - Read more about Twhirl and download it at

You can send updates to Twitter via email from mobile phones - no SMS bills.

Sarah Perez found another Twitter app for Windows Mobile

I had just come across Twobile, a Twitter client for Windows Mobile, and now I find this: ceTwit, yet another Twitter client for Windows Mobile! This app looks pretty cool since it features the avatars of your fellow Twitter users. You can also follow or unfollow users from the context menu, check for updates or turn on auto-update, and view your timelines, replies, and directs, of course, too. An auto-refresh feature makes sure you won't miss a thing. Nice! Want to give this one a go? Download it here!

Posted By: Sarah Perez | Apr 14th @ 10:45 AM

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Other uses of Twitter

TweetStats - Tweet stats is a graph of your Twitter usage - Here you can view an example of what your TweetStats would look like - TimsTweetStats

Tweet Cloud - Tweet Cloud is a cloud of all the words you use in Twitter, & how many times you've used each word. - Here you can view an example of what your Tweet Cloud may look like - TimsTweetCloud

Twitter - Productive or Distracting?

It can be used either way.  If you're able to discipline yourself when you have other work to do, by ignoring Twitter or simply turning it off, then it's fine.
One benefit could be.. say you and your friends/work colleagues (contacts/followers) were full on Twitter users, if any of your contacts were always getting heaps of emails and it takes them some time to respond to your emails, then you can just Twitter them, they'll more than likely read your message through there a lot quicker than they would get to their email. Some people may say, why not just text them or call them on your phone? Well Twittering them is free... free is the way to go.



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Missy Caulk's picture

Gotta love those Google

Gotta love those Google Alerts on my name.