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BIP: Tech for Dummies by Dummies

March 5, 2009

2009bip-150x210This BIP assignment involves explaining how a particular social media outlet works, so I chose the one that has confounded me from the beginning: Twitter. To be honest, I’m still not sure of how to utilize it as a tool, but I’m just not thinking creatively enough I guess. Or I don’t think my life is interesting enough to require updates. Either one.

Twitter is an online status report. Users post in 140 characters or less (meaning letters) about what they are doing. Some tweeters (def: people who use Twitter) are particularly entertaining, some are supposedly famous, but most are just normal people connecting with friends and family (def: “followers” in Twitterspeak). You can choose between making messages public or private (for only selected followers). Because of the size of the messages, many people hook Twitter up to their cellphones to get instant “real time” updates, which is particularly helpful for small groups making plans or families trying to keep track of each other. Here is a how-to video, aimed at small businesses, but I think it relates to bloggers and, well, I like the guy’s accent.

To us bloggers, Twitter is like Google Reader combined with the six-word memoir: all of the relevant information is pared down into the absolutely minimal amount of communication. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Twitter. I don’t even have a Twitter, although I am dumbfounded by the people that do! One of my professors was caught twittering in class during a student presentation (at least he didn’t say anything mean about the group!). Last weekend while I was skiing, I saw a man fall, pull out his blackberry and yell to his kids to hold on while he sends a quick tweet! (My dad and I had fun imagining what his update might be). Many members of Congress have jumped on the bandwagon and tweeted from President Obama’s state of the union address! I can’t embed the video here, but Jon Stewart tackles the issue and it’s well worth watching.

As for me, I’m tempted to get a Twitter account just to be a part of the whole thing and find out what the hype is all about. It’s definitely easy to use and I can see the addiction, especially for people with Blackberrys (read: crackberry). It looks like fun, but I have not yet been convinced that its necessary or even all that useful. I just think it’s something fun and yet another way to stay connected, which is always good, isn’t it? Ok, usually good anyway.

Do you have a Twitter? Do you think you’ll get one? What will or did convince you?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2009 1:30 pm

    Actually, you are the first person I’ve read/heard that calls it “a Twitter”. I think of it as a verb, not a noun.

    No, I don’t and I don’t intend to. I’m already quite concerned about my slight Facebook fever.

    I told Hub that I broke down and joined FB and told him that it’s being called ‘crackbook’. He asked, “Can I crackbook from my crackberry?” and I was able to tell him YES!

    sigh…

  2. March 6, 2009 1:44 am

    OK, now I get it. Thank you for that explanation. The video was fun to listen to also. Not sure if it’s for me. I will have to think about it.

  3. March 6, 2009 8:53 am

    I’m with you two. Even though I understand it, I’m still not sure what the draw is, beyond listening to myself talk (which I have no problem with). I’m interested to see what other BIPers say about it!

  4. Sandwiched permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:19 pm

    I am a hardcore Twitterer. I love tweeting with my tweeps. It’s a real community. As a matter of fact, my post for tomorrow is a YouTube video on Twitter. If you want a typical user’s view of the appeal of Twitter, it’s perfect:

    http://sandwiched.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/sunday-funnies-twitter-ruined-my-life/

    I promote my latest blog posts (I get a respectable amount of traffic from Twitter) and tweet observations and reactions. If you want to check out the kind of things I tweet, you can find me at http://twitter.com/sandwiched

    I’ve tweeted from every room in my house, the mall, the movies, and even (and especially) from the emergency room!

    It’s also utterly fascinating to read tweets in real time as newsworthy events happen. When the plane went down in the Hudson River, I first learned about it from someone I follow who said they could see the plane in the river from their living room window! I spent election night and inauguration day on Twitter.

    Okay…this comment is long enough to be its own post! Hardly the 140-character limit to which I am accustomed!

  5. March 7, 2009 10:37 pm

    Twitter is the best in my opinion! I love the community that exists there – I can connect with people about my business, with local people and with people who share certain interests (whether than is genealogy, scrapbooking or just being a mom of 3 boys!) If you give it a real chance for about a week you should know if it is for you or not!

  6. March 8, 2009 12:03 am

    Sandwiched: I’ve never really thought about Twitter like that! I’m doing my best to keep an open mind! I know that I’ll cave soon and try it!

    Laurie: I like the suggestion to try it for a week and see how you feel about it! I’ll have to update if/when I DO try it!

  7. March 15, 2009 2:17 pm

    Hi Belle – I’m here from the BIP. All the social media is a bit much for me, except for Facebook, which I adore. I’ve just joined Twitter yesterday because I felt I should give it a try for the BIP. So far I have to say I’m enjoying it. I don’t have a cellphone or a blackberry, so there won’t be any ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ tweets from me!

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