This series of posts I am writing about social networking is not some sort of marketing method or a means of proselytizing the wonders of using these online tools. I only want to show you the possible advantages that could come from into looking into these new networks. I mentioned the fact that Facebook has gotten so big so fast (at last count well over 500 million and counting…), that it is as complex as any other human society (replete with good and bad actors). Beyond the Facebook phenomenon, there are plenty of related kinds of sites out there: MySpace, Orkut, various instant messengers (Yahoo, MSN, AIM, Gtalk, etc.), and video calling programs (Skype, Vonage, et.al.), and finally we come to a tool that almost everyone I that I have met knows the name, but almost always doesn’t get it…Twitter.
Twitter for those few of you who have never heard of Twitter or ‘tweets’, is a free online service where you can post ‘tweets’ (140 characters maximum per tweet). I think that Twitter has gotten a bad rap by being tied to closely to young Hollywood narcissists who tweet to their breathless throngs about what they had for breakfast, and where they buy their shoes… The fact is Twitter has slowly become a necessity for those who really want to keep track of breaking news events, sports scores, and any other perishable information.
I wonder how the chattering class (mainstream media types, journalists, and pundits) could live without this tool.
For someone who may be interested in…let’s say…Notre Dame football, NC State basketball, the Big Ten results, or almost any sporting event result. Twitter can be a pretty simple thing to set up and use…the ‘tweets’ come to you automatically.
Since it came out on the online scene, there have been some worthwhile additions to Twitter. There are plenty of URL shortening services which allow you to tweet long addresses, there are services which allow you to tweet pictures (even directly from your phone (like an MMS text message). I have checked out some video services which allow you to create 12 second videos as tweets.
If you add in the topic of Hash tags, Twitter becomes even more powerful. By and large, or those who use the internet to gather information, especially current event or time sensitive information, Twitter is slowly becoming a practical replacement for those who use RSS readers (another topic which you should look into , if you haven’t tried one out…yet.).
As a strange sort of a close to this whole idea of social networking (for middle aged guys), I can see Twitter as different from most of the rest of these online tools, in that it can easily be used only to gather information, versus interacting with some designated friends (of any sort). As I understand middle aged guys, this might be an actual selling point for Twitter over such (much more interactive) tools as any of the long list of the already mentioned IM’s, VOIP clients, EBay, Facebook, MySpace, et.al.Tags: social networking, Twitter