I’m curious. . .do any of you use Twitter?

I heard about it for a long time before I finally signed up for an account and even then it took me months to stop thinking “I don’t get this. What in the world is the point?”

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it’s just a web application where you write status updates, limited to 140 characters or less. And yes, it does seem kind of pointless to have a spot solely for the purpose of saying “Traffic is making me tear my hair out” or “My cheerios got soggy too quickly today, and it made me sad.”

On the other hand, though, it is very handy for writing things that need to be shared but don’t necessarily warrant an entire blog post: “I found $20 in my coat pocket. Indian take-out tonight!” (Sadly, that was an example; I did not find $20 in my coat pocket. On the upside, I’m not wearing a coat either).

People also use it as a place to notify their followers when they’ve posted on their blogs or to find other people with similar interests or to ask “Who is that guy in that one movie about that girl with a cat?” and get an almost instant response.

Yesterday, the ALA Youth Media awards (Newberys, etc.) had a live Twitter feed, so you could refresh it every few seconds and see what had won. This was very handy, since I was sort of in class while they were being announced. It also would have been more handy if the Twitter feed hadn’t died half way through.

While the awards were being announced, many book bloggers/tweeters were firing off updates about their thoughts on the awards: “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks got a Printz nod. Hooray!” or “Can you believe The Hunger Games got zero love?” It was all sorts of fun.

So, do you use it? Have you heard about it but don’t understand the hype? Or are you shaking your head at this post wondering what in the blazes I’m rambling on about today?

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  1. Try as I might, I just can’t get interested in Twitter. Which is probably a good thing since it would just require MORE time on the computer which is something I’m trying to combat.

  2. Sounds kinda like another type of facebook. I haven’t figured how to use a fraction of my Google, Yahoo, and facebook stuff (for lack of better word). I never did get myspace to work. Adding Twitter would probably “do me in”.
    I guess I’m asking, “How many information/comment accounts and places do we need to try to keep track of?” (Yes, I know; I ended some sentences with prepositions.)

  3. I use it, only because if I didn’t I would have 20 posts a day. I think I may be addicted to my new, shiny laptop.

  4. @Packrat:


  5. …and another thought. Down with facebook and myspace. I don’t understand nor trust them. Blogger and Twitter are plenty for me.

  6. I don’t have a Twitter account, despite NPW’s constant efforts to recruit me. YOU CAN NEVER TAKE MY FREEDOM! I don’t care if other people twitter, though. It’s not necessarily an indication of character.

    But then, I’m not on Facebook or MySpace, I don’t text, and I buy and listen to CDs. So, you know, there’s your grain of salt.

  7. I’m shaking my head at this post wondering what in the blazes you’re rambling on about today.

    You asked 😉

  8. and I always thought it was just something you used for texting!!! I thought people texted their entries? I obviously don’t know enough about it nor do I have a major desire to learn more. I of course reserve the right to change my mind in the future.

  9. I am a fervent Twitter supporter, and I’ll tell you that it requires thinking about how it can be used well versus how it gets press/markets itself.

    I used Twitter to run my Texas Legacy Project. Since my user group was not a group of easily available and reachable people, I created a Twitter account in order to reach them, seeking people who fit the qualifications to help run a usability test. Turns out, the response was huge and the project then turned out very well. Had I not reached out via something like Twitter, I wouldn’t feel so successful with the project.

    Second, and more interesting example. Yesterday, I put a message out with a hash tag about my feelings on midwinter. Within minutes, someone from council contacted me and invited me to chat. I had a great time, met some very valuable people, and had a lot of burning question answered. Had I not used Twitter for reaching out, I’d have left Denver disappointed and frustrated. Now? I am leaving with answers and confidence, as well as a larger network!

    I think the best part of twitter is the search function, but because it’s not located on the main site, it doesn’t get the use it could. Search.Twitter.Com is your friend; this is how I found people to help me with my project, and it’s how I keep abreast of some things I’m interested in (reading habits, job openings, and so forth).

    /ends manifesto.

  10. I should add, too, that it does make me mad when organizations are going to use Twitter as their communication mode, advertise it, then fail to follow through. Thank goodness there are other Twitter users who take up those causes, as well!

  11. I use Twitter and the main reason is one of the things you mentioned: stuff you want to talk about that doesn’t merit a whole blog post. It’s great for that. And the other stuff you mentioned.

  12. I have Twitter, but I really only use it when I remember about it. Which is not often. It can be pretty fun, though, like a Facebook update!

  13. You betcha — @NathanPralle

    My reasons are for:

    A) Things too short for blog posts, but that I feel like ‘observing’ to other people.

    B) Automated services, such as newsfeeds of headlines, earthquake warnings, Amber Alerts, airline sales, etc — handy place to have them all in one place.

    C) A new way to interact with celebrities, since a lot of them Twitter these days.

    D) Yet another way to get my name out there as someone who might be interesting to someone, somewhere, for some reason. I like being interconnected and meeting folk online, so you never know where it’ll lead.

    Like everything else, it’s a tool, meant for certain things, and if you don’t need the tool (or you have a different problem to solve), then it won’t be applicable to you. I think it’s handy, but I don’t require everyone to think that. 🙂

  14. At first I thought Twitter sounded really stupid; I mean, who needs to know where someone else is every second of the day? But as I’ve slowly come around to appreciate facebook, I find Twitter intriguing…. mostly because some bloggers I love have their most recent tweets on their home page, and I see those and I think “Oh, that’s funny/interesting/cool! Maybe I’m missing a lot by not having Twitter. Oh, but I’m too lazy to join. Maybe later.”

    So, yeah. That’s what I think.

  15. i don’t have the best twitter feed, but i love it! i started a twitter account so clients would know when i was working on their pictures, someone else’s, or when i was too busy to work on anyone’s pictures so they wouldn’t bug me every hour. 😉 i.e. huge meeting at work; luncheon with casey and the firm; etc. it hasn’t been too successful at serving that purpose, however. especially since few people read your status and/or use twitter at all. oh well!! it’s also fun when you travel and you can text your location and such to twitter.

  16. i love twitter. i prefer updating twitter rather than my facebook status. it also interacts great with twitpic, which i use when uploading pictures from my phone.

    i’ll admit when i first heard of it i thought ‘NOT ANOTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE!’… but i now love it + use it regularly. definitely great for short pieces of info that don’t warrant a blog post. also great for keeping in contact with others, rather than texting or turning blog comment boxes into chat rooms 🙂

    i only wish more people used it, but i can understand that after facebook, myspace + blogging… everyone’s getting burnt out. i have a twitter widget on my igoogle page + also on my iphone so there’s no logging into extra sites… but i know a ton of people still don’t have personalized home pages with email, readers, etc… so it’s no wonder that they feel bombarded with all the hoopla. it’s really not that complicated.

  17. PS – I just signed up to see what Twitter was about. Not understanding that Twitter was going to read my email address book (told you I’m not computer savvy!), you were automatically added that I’m following you. Please email me if you want to be removed. I’ll play with this a while and see what happens.

  18. Yah, I can tell that I don’t Twitter because that niche is already filled by Facebook for me. It would seem repetitive. And that whole pesky no cell phone thing. Twitter seems better suited to someone with mobile options. I think it’s a great idea, just not a good fit for me given what I’m already hooked on.

  19. Well, you KNOW I Twitter, since we’re friends and all 🙂

    I’ve been on there for almost two years. Weird.

  20. I love Twitter. It’s just little blurbs, but it’s fun to get those from friends, especially when a phone call wouldn’t really be necessary. (I do love my phone calls, but sometimes you just don’t have that much to say.)

  21. I use it and just began to follow you 🙂

    Sometimes I update it a few times a day, and sometimes I forget about it for a week…

  22. I agree about using it for lesser blog topics, but I fear I would get too addicted to it. I already spend enough time compulsively checking my reader.

  23. I used to and I even had it linked to my Facebook for awhile, but I never remembered to actually go to Twitter, so I just deleted my account the other day.

  24. i use it, but most of the time i forget to twitter! i get so entertained reading other people’s tweets that i forget i should contribute every now and then. i thought it was kinda pointless at first, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to tell someone about your unruly Cheerios!

  25. i never even heard of it until you posted this! but like TheMoncurs, i can’t do it! i am sure that it is fabulous. cool stuff about the book info! someday i will check it out. i am just barely figuring out facebook!

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