To twitter or not to twitter


— 10:27 PM on February 20, 2008

I've been trying for the past week to get friends and listeners to start Twittering, so I thought I would explain what Twitter is and why I use it.

(Disclaimer: I know Twitter has been around for a long time, and that I'm a Johnny-Come-Lately to this.)

Twitter is a micro-blogging web application. In English, that means it’s like a blog where you only post really short descriptions of your activities. Some people will write a post about what they’re doing at the moment while others might insert a link to a really cool website they just discovered. You have up to 140 words per post and as many posts as you want per day.

I started Twittering because I update my Facebook status a LOT to tell people what I’m doing. Twitter will sync with Facebook, so I can update my status without having to log into FB, which often takes longer than planned (I get distracted easily). All I have to do is go to Twitter.com and fill in ‘what I’m doing’. Five Minutes later, my status is updated on my Facebook page.

I don’t have time to detail my comings and goings like a normal blog. However, I do want a record of my activities—something that years from now, I can read and see what I was up to ‘way back when.’  Twitter is easy on my schedule, and it's fun to be creative with my sentences. Since I don't feel the weight of having to fill a blog post, I post quite frequently.

Many famous geeks Twitter their comings and goings throughout the day. People like Leo Laporte and Veronica Belmont twitter about the latest tech news, the gadget they're playing with, or what they had for breakfast. If you can learn to weed out the fluff, you can gain a lot of insight into the tech world simply by watching their updates.

Even people who aren’t in the forefront of the tech world can get attention on Twitter. As an example, several of the Yahoo employees that were laid off last week broke the story by Twittering.

If you want to give it a shot, head over to Twitter.  You can also find lots of programs and services that can expand Twitter's functionality. I use Twittersync to sync with Facebook and Spaz for Mac OSX to update from my desktop.

My Twitter page is twitter.com/jdrake90, and if you have an account, you can follow my activities by clicking the ‘follow’ button under my picture. You might catch some insider TR tidbits. I'm also trying to get Scott to start a Twitter feed for all of his benchmarking projects.

For those who are already Twittering, Powncing, or using another Micro-Blogging service, what service do you use and what do you think of it?

If Twittering sounds like a terrible waste of time and you think I'm crazy, you're not the first.

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