A little “tweet” or two at “twitch” speed: Micro-blogging

12 06 2009

Welcome to the crazy (yet powerful and provocative) world of micro-blogging on Twitter.  It seems that everyone from Oprah to US Senators  to conference attendees across the country (and around the world) are “tweeting” in the moment, either on their iPhone, Blackberry, or from their laptop or PC.  So you may ask: “What can I say in 140 characters or less?”

I always endeavor to “tweet” something of value about what I’m learning, thinking, doing, etc.  The definition of value is probably in the “eye” of the “tweeter” and their “followers”. This can become addictive but it’s always a case of think before you “tweet” because what you release is in the public domain and is a reflection of your values, ideals etc.  Best advice: If you wouldn’t want your mother or grandmother or current/future employer to read it, then don’t release a “tweet”.

I’m still mastering the ins and outs of Twitter but have learned some valuable lessons to date:

  1. Tutorials: One of the best tutorials I’ve found is one produced by Terrence O’Brien.  His “Twitter 101: Tips and Tricks” is located at Switched.
  2. Desktop Client Application: When using Twitter from a laptop or desktop, it’s very handy to stream all you “tweets” through a small window via a social software client called twhirl that you download and install. There is an icon on the twhirl interface that will allow you to shorten a standard URL into a tiny URL to include as part of your “tweet”.
  3. Other ways of creating abbreviated URLs: Creating abbreviated URLs will save characters for emails, blogs,  “tweets”, etc.  Using Tiny URL will allow you drag a link to your links toolbar in your browser.  Then, when you are on a website that you want to “tweet” about, you simply click the icon Tiny URL icon on your toolbar and a tiny url (abbreviated) is created which you copy and paste into your “tweet”.  On the other hand, you can use tiny.cc where you type in an original URL into a box then click a button and a copy of the tiny URL is automatically pasted onto your clipboard for posting into you “tweet”.

Like all web 2.0 technologies, the best wasy to learn Twitter is to experiment, reserarch the topic of micro-blogging, and follow friends and colleagues.  Give it a try, you may become enveloped in the possibilities as you operate at “twitch” speed!

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