BIP: Tech for Dummies by Dummies
This 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?