By the time you read this, twitter may have jumped the shark. Biz Stone, the founder of twitter, was just interviewed on the Colbert Report. During the interview Stephen tweeted about interviewing him. Yes, this technology seems seriously meta—commenting on events while participating on them (and that's one of the less dumb seeming uses )... is it adding too much information?
One thing that lept out at me from the Colbert Report interview was: "It's really the messaging service we didn't know we needed until we had it. You send out 140 character burst of information to anyone who wants to receive, and they receive it in real time, and that's where some of the magic happens." Of course the similiar things can be said about most of the technology in the last 10 years. (See also: blogging).
So, how does one tweet? How does one capture the "magic?" How does one really get into twitter? As a tech professional, I've set up several twitter accounts only to watch them languish and be forgotten. Admittedly, the same thing happened to my twitter account, the first few months I had it. I didn't see the point.
Then I got TwitterFox, a firefox extension for twitter. Instead of having to go to twitter.com to tweet, whenever firefox is open, you can tweet. Twitterfox also alerts you when the people you follow tweet, reply to you, or direct message you.
TwitterFox is one of many applications built to make twittering even easier. Other popular twitter apps include:
- Twhirl is nice free desktop client that allows you to monitor multiple twitter accounts.
- TweetDeck allows you to organize the people you follow into different groups.
However, tweeting easily from your desktop isn't where the addiction to twitter occurs. Yes, it's a great way to document your thoughts when you just don't have enough substance to blog. The magic happens when you follow different users. Twitter uses I've encountered personally range from getting fast advice from fellow professionals in my field to learning about new web building techniques to getting breaking local news to free (with coupon) and/or cheap food from area restaurants. Recently, doctors at Henry Ford Health System tweeted while performing a brain surgery operation. This provided a great educational opportunity to medical students and the general public, while getting great press for the Center.
The possibilities are endless, and I'm sure I've just scraped the top of them. You won't be able to explore the possibilities until you try it. So, grab some of the apps mentioned above, and start tweeting.