Recently, I was enjoying lunch with a writers group when the topic turned to social networking. The evil necessity of being visible online as writers-published or not. As one writer proclaimed her love for Twitter, it made me realize I felt the same way once I started using my account on a regular basis. Why? Because it's simple and easy to use. The pure fact that I can send and receive tweets from my mobile phone without having to log online is amazing to me. Unlike MySpace or Facebook, there's very little maintenance, no updating or adding more photos, etc. once you've set-up your account.
Basically, Twitter asks you "What are you doing?". In 140 characters or less, you can inform those interested in keeping updated about what's going on with you. You can do this via text messaging, instant messaging or from online. In addition, you can use a widget on your MySpace or Facebook account so you can put your Twitter updates there as well. Personally, I think that's a little redundant since MySpace and Facebook already has a place where you can post updates. It states you could also put a widget on your blog page, so that could be a nice addition. You can find this information on their home page under Goodies.
Even though you can use their general Help Page to learn how to use Twitter, I really liked how the help page geared for businesses was set-up much better. So I'd suggest checking out both.
If you have any questions or problems with Twitter, check out their Support Page. One thing I noticed is that I didn't always get the updates sent to my mobile phone which I wasn't too happy about. Their answer for this was: "Missing Twitter text updates is fairly common. If the Twitter text queue is too overloaded with text updates, some will be dropped." Should I have expected that technology is never perfect in the first place? I suppose so.
Upon further investigation, I came across this: "Twitter sends and receives an extremely high volume of tweets each day. We're now sending and receiving so many that we're occasionally exceeding carrier limits. When this happens, we're unable to deliver more text messages to that carrier or phone for a short period of time. If you're not receiving all tweets via text, this is most likely why." They do give solutions though if there seems more to the problem than that. In addition, they do mention that they're working with mobile phone carriers to fix that problem though in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed that they do.
If you're interested, Twitter has their own blog. Their most recent post talks about a new book, Twitter Wit, that features the funniest tweets.
Speaking of books, in the Resources area geared toward businesses, there are two books listed, "The Twitter Book" and "Twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets". I haven't gotten a chance to see any of these books but do plan to. There are also articles and blog posts on Twitter and using it effectively.
And for more on Twitter, check out Gena's post from last year.
So far, I'm not following that many people but I do have Library Journal, RefWorks, and the Shatford Library so far along with some friends and acquaintances. In a step beyond Twitter, there now is Twibes which are Twitter groups. More on that next time!