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How to : Twitter

Posted on 25. Jul, 2009 by .

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In the recent past, people have told me that they don’t understand the point in using twitter.

With 3 tweets in 7 months so far, I dont really count as a (major) twitter user either. But, I thought I could always write up an explanation about the advantages to help people decide. So, here are a few things about twitter to help you understand why i think it is the next big thing.

To help those who’ve never used twitter, let me start by posting my Twittle screenshot.
Twittle is a light weight client software that I’ve been using to read news from OneIndia regularly.

One quick look at image tells the following:

1. 35 minutes ago, I was solving puzzles at http://www.greylabyrinth.com/.

2. 5 minutes before I wrote about Greylabyrinth, Oneindia.in tweeted about the arrest of Muthalik in Mysore.

3. 20 minutes before that Prakash wrote about a documentary he watched – in New Jersey, I suppose.

I know about all this without reading an email, without seeing a website or even a RSS feed. How cool is that?

Now, if you think of a twitter page as yet another webpage that you need to open to learn about what a friend is doing, then it perhaps doesn’t appear as attractive/intuitive. Now if you want to know what I’m doing, it does not matter if you have to type http://pkrishnan.net or http://twitter.com/pkrishnan into your browser, it feels like the same effort.

Now if you understand that you can get real time updates from me -and-your-other-friends-and-even-companies – by clicking this little “Twittle” icon sitting in the system tray, voila, Twitter worked its magic on you.

So twitter is about real time updates from multiple sources all delivered to an icon in your system tray. Like most services, twittering is only as fun as your client software or friends can make it. Now if you live in a cave and your friends help you kill your prey everyday, you’ll be better off learning about slingshots.

I use Twittle because I dont write much and I am mostly a “read only guy” – but if you have specific needs, you might want a client with at least a few more features like Pwytter.

Most of my friends who are online 24×7 still dont use twitter as they seem to think instant messengers are faster. But then, with instant messengers dont get you a webpage on which you can prove that you said or didn’t say something.

Twitter is the fastest way to publish information publicly but the penalty you pay is size, and I may add that the layout options on your twitter page are really limited.

Most of what is on blogs are for public consumption and most of instant messaging is not for public consumption.
To me, twitter is the perfect fill for the sweet spot between friends who are close enough to beat the crap out of us on messengers and those long distance old buddies who deserve more attention than our occasional email or blog post.

There is a lot of hype about Twitter right now. Many new services and applications are cropping up daily. You might want to spend some time on these and might want to differentiate those which will stand out in the long term. By the time you’re done evaluating, I’m sure you’d be a Twitter expert already.

If you bring twitter into your life, this is a list of things you’ll be doing.

Among others, the invisible power of twitter comes from:
1. Real time – as fast as few second updates delivered to your twitter client
2. Direct – straight from the horse’s mouth
3. Two way communication – better than just reading, you can respond quickly if you choose to
4. Brevity – yes, it is important to intelligent people.
5. Multiple devices to communicate with – Desktops, Laptops, Mobilephones, PDAs
6. Speed – dervied from 1, 4  & 5
7. Greater spontaneity and better thought tracking – derived from 6

So as you can see, there are clear advantages. There is actually more to it, but these are the key differences that matter to most people who just want to keep in touch with friends.

If reading all of this made you understand twitter any better, happy twittering!

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