I wonder if the idea for Twitter came to guys from Obvious after watching that so popular but oh, so annoying Budweiser Wassup commercial back in 2006? Twitter’s simple question “What are you doing?” clearly resembles the one The Bud fans were asking each other.
Who could know that in less than two years such a plain idea of sharing with the world what we’re doing at the moment will turn into a craze where blogging and Harry Potter fail in comparison. Looks like everyone has at least opened an account on Twitter and tried to join the world of micro-blogging. But what can be said in 140 characters or less other than “enjoying a hot cup of java with Baileys”?
Apparently a lot. Humans are very curious and clever creatures, who can create something out of nothing, or turn an unassuming personal communication tool into a powerful marketing and political machine. (Would somebody enlighten @hillaryclinton please, that she needs to at least pretend she’s following some of her followers, or follow the steps of @BarackObama, who follows everyone who follows him?)
There are many tutorials written on how to use Twitter for marketing. Copyblogger has even announced a Twitter writing contest, challenging everyone to write a story exactly 140 characters long. If Hemnigway’s shortest story ever was only six words or 35 characters long, and hundreds of others have tried to follow his steps on Wired, someone should be able to write a novella with 140 characters.
So what is it about Twitter that attracts so many people? Why should we consider opening a Twitter account? CommonCraft did an interesting and entertaining video tutorial on Twitter in Plain English. Though it only covers personal and social aspects of Twitter, it is a good introduction on how someone can start his addiction to Twitter. Oh, yes, there’s already a new term — twitterholic — along with the heated debates on whether a post to Twitter should be spelled twit or tweet.
As for myself, I’m still trying to uncover the Twitter magic that excites thousands of its fans. I couldn’t keep reminding myself to visit my online Twitter page to twit, so I’ve installed several third-party Twitter applications that I found convenient:
This add-on allows you to post to Twitter from Firefox’s address bar.
Clicking on a small grey/green icon that sits at the end of the address bar will post your twit along with the displayed URI, and you can hover your mouse over the icon to see how many characters you have left.
This Firefox extension “adds a tiny icon on the status bar that notifies you when your friends update their tweets. Also it has a small text input field to update your tweets”. I like how easy it is here to click and reply to someone’s twit and also click on the tab to see all replies to my twits.
This is a standalone menubar application that allows you to “blast” your mood, thoughts, activities not only to Twitter but to a number of other apps that makes it really helpful to be on top of your online social life with various social networking sites and IMs like Facebook, Jaiku, Skype, iChat, Tumblr, Prownce. MoodBlast comes with a hand full of useful features, make sure to check out the how-to Screencast on Cicrle Six Design
Even if you don’t have time to twit, adding your blog’s feed to Twitter will give your site an extra exposure, and to your followers a quick way to check your most recent post.
Hopefully, those four apps mentioned above will improve my Twitter experience and make it less time consuming and more efficient. There are many other popular Twitter apps, which one did you find helpful for your twittering needs?
One thing I’m still trying to figure out is how some people can keep up with following hundreds of other Twitter users? Do you really read everyone’s twits? How much time do you spend on Twitter then?
What are your thoughts on Twitter? What do you like or dislike about it? Do you consider yourself being a twitterholic, or do you find yourself wondering what’s with all that Twitter buzz? How do you use Twitter? What do you twit about? How do you present yourself on Twitter — are you extending your blogging personality or revealing more of who you are and what you do when you’re not “wired”?