Do You Tweet When You Twitter?
By Robert McMillen- Koin’s Tech Guru
Well, I went and did it. I said I wouldn’t do it, but I was talked into it. I joined Twitter. I finally made the decision after one of my sisters pointed out all the cool things you could do with Twitter. I decided to join so I could tell all of you whether or not it was a good idea.
Twitter is the fastest growing website on the internet, according to several news sources like the New York Times. It allows you to send up to 140 characters in a message to multiple people at once. Before there was Twitter, you had to send individual text messages to many cell phones or emails from your phone. Now with Twitter, you can send to a gaggle of Twits with a few pushes of your cell phone or computer.
It has created a whole new group of co-dependent people who seem to know what everyone in their group is doing at all times during the day or night. Well, there I go again making fun of the Twits when I just signed up to be one. It actually does have a lot of useful features. It even helped rescue a man from an Egyptian prison sentence when he Tweeted his group during his arrest. His Twitter friends put pressure on the Egyptian government to release him. You can read all about it here: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/22071/?a=f
So let’s walk through the sign up procedure and tell you what happened:
The first thing I did was go to twitter.com and sign up for a free account. I went through the usual user name and password falderal and signed in. Then a strange thing happened. It asked me for my login to a Hotmail, Gmail, AOL or other account so it could check to see if anyone in my address book was also a Twit. I tried to just skip past it but it wouldn’t let me. Fortunately I did have an old AOL account so I inputted the username and password. It found all the people I ever emailed from AOL and said that I was the only Twit among them. Why force me to enter an email account from some other company? “Vewy stwange” I thought.
So I logged in and it let me upload a picture of myself, which I did. Then I had to type in a one line description of myself, which I did. Then it asked me for my cell phone number. What? Whoa… Slow down… I don’t have a cell phone text plan, so if I give that to Twitter I would be paying a fee to my cell provider for every Twit that wants to text me. Fortunately it allowed me to leave this blank. My fellow Twits will just have to email me, which for now is still free.
But I don’t have any fellow Twits to email or text me yet. So what do I do? Well there’s a search function. I can type in any subject and it searches for the names of other Twits that have the word I’m searching for. I thought it would also search their profile, but it only goes by name. So be descriptive in your username if you want to be searchable based on your main interest in life. At first I tried to put in “greasy pizza and chocolate” but that name was either too long or taken. I’m not sure which. So then I decided to put in All Tech Radio as my username so people could find me by the word Tech or Radio. Hmm. Maybe I should remove the word “All”. That may cause some additional email I hadn’t considered.
I decided to follow a guy named ComputerFreezes. After checking out his profile, he apparently uses Twitter to sell his software and help people fix their computers. So it’s possible to run a business using Twitter. That’s interesting.
Next I typed in “news”, and every major news organization popped up because it turns out they’re all Twits! I always suspected that, but there it is in black and white. So you can use Twitter to keep up on the news with tiny Tweets. No, I didn’t make that up. That’s what they call them. So I added myself to the Koin Local 6 Tweet.
When I scrolled down to the bottom of the page I noticed there was an Apps tab. I clicked on that and found a bunch of Twitter applications for PCs, Mac’s, iPhones and more. Some apps are free while others cost around $15. That seems like a lot compared to the cost of applications on iPhones and Android, but the Twitter community seems to have no problem paying to make co-dependency as easy as possible. Most of the apps were designed to allow you to use your computer to see the 140 character ramblings of people who are following you, or who you are following.
I saw some users who had tens of thousands of people they were following. That means they’re getting messages from so many people in a day there’s no way they could read all the Tweets unless they had absolutely no life. I wonder if they’re convicts. That would explain a lot.
If you choose to follow a person, it just means that everything they post will show up in your cell phone and/or email account. If someone follows you, the same thing happens in reverse. Unlike an instant messaging program like AIM or Yahoo Instant Messenger, you don’t need anyone’s permission to follow them, or you they. You can also post private Tweets, but what fun is there in that?
Here’s a brief list of other things I read you can do on Twitter: Write a Collaborative Book, Live Webinars/Tutorials, Free Market Research, Online Reputation Management, Laugh a Day Therapy and lots more.
Do doctors recommend Twitter for Depression or other ailments? I had this thought because I could see how easily addicting it could be for people who are lonely or depressed to get totally wrapped up in this. So I searched for doctors on Twitter, and guess what? There are a bunch of them. I guess when times are tough economically you’ll see some interesting ways for every industry to try to make a living. I can’t fault anyone for that.
If you want a good laugh, though, just search Twitter for attorneys. There are dozens of them. I found one guy who is an attorney by day and a doctor by night. I know there’s a joke in there somewhere about chasing his own ambulance and suing himself, but I’ll just let you figure that out.
For more great tips, check back here each week and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email email@example.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column I will always answer by email.