Twitter: Your Life in 140 Characters or Less

By Hunter Owens (Co-Founder, Editor In Chief, Columnist) [?]

Published: March 18, 2009
Original LA News Desk Content

Twitter, the new social networking phenomena, asks you a simple question: “what are you doing right now?” Much simpler than either MySpace or Facebook, Twitter is one of the more interesting start-up properties right now.

You use Twitter by posting 140 character “Tweets” that answer the above question. The answers vary from logical “Doug is eating Lunch at Baja Bud’s”, to the way too personal “Mary is flushing the toilet”, or to the philosophical. This author’s recent tweets (username: Hunter_Owens) included “Is the undisputed master of the unknown universe” and “destroyer of Gondiwandiland”. Twitter is also used by Politicians and Media types. Claire McCaksil and Mike Hofstra are popular Twitters and members of Congress. Another, less frequent Twitter is President Barack Obama. Recent Message “is asking you to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr by volunteering in your area. Visit http://USAservice.org or text SERVE to 56333 for info.” Both new and old media have joined Twitter, with Politico’s Mike Allen and both the NY and LA Times having feeds.

To follow somebody’s Twitter feed, you click “follow” on their page, and that way, their updates are available when you visit twitter.com, use a desktop client (such as Twitteriffic and Tweetdeck), or (optionally) send them to your phone. There are internet debates about if you should follow somebody who has followed you. This author’s personal belief is that on a personal account, reciprocal following is not necessary, but on a business or news account, it is.

To conduct a discussion on Twitter, there are three ways. One is to use the @ tag, which means reply. If somebody on Twitter posts “@doug want to meet for lunch now” Doug and the person who wrote the Tweet would see the message. To send a message only Doug would see, you could use dm tag, for direct message. These are personal 140 character messages. The coolest tag is probably the has h tag (#) which can be used to conduct a group conversation on Twitter. The #cctvfire tag was probably the best resource for news about the CCTV building fire that occurred in February. Another tag on Twitter is the RT tag, which stands for Re-tweet and comes with a username to repost another user’s message.

Twitter also gained notoriety when the first “twitterview” was conduct during the Gaza-Israel war with the Israeli Consulate’s David Sangara (@IsraeliConsulate @ David_Sangara). The interview was deemed a success and the Israeli consulate is one of the most active users of Twitter.

So for what are you waiting for? Join Twitter and become Twitteriffic!

Read more stories in Computers and I.T.

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