WTF Thursday: WTF is Twitter?

Now, all of a sudden in my life, I’m finding Twitter popping up EVERYWHERE. News articles, blogs, friend’s websites, newspapers, tv shows, etc. And I have a question for everyone out there: WTF is Twitter?

Pretty much all I know about it is that there’s some sort of language to typing/referencing others, and basically, you’re answering the question “What are you doing?” (Because that is what the homepage of Twitter tells me.)

From what I actually understand of Twitter’s wikipedia page, you regularly update on what you’re doing, and people become your “followers.” Now this sounds like an interesting prospect for blogs/bloggers, but seems to be an increasingly creepy thing for individuals. I don’t think I want to be hoarded by “followers,” nor would I like to creepy-stalk someone else by becoming their follower. But the concept of “micro-blogging” intrigues me. It seems like it might be marginally useful, and at the same time be an interesting social experiment.

So, anyone want to fill me in on WTF is Twitter?


12 thoughts on “WTF Thursday: WTF is Twitter?

  1. You basically hit the nail on the head with “Micro-blogging.”

    It’s possible to set up your twitter account so that you have to authorize followers and the world at large can’t see your updates if you want it to be a private communication medium. This is basically how I use it with my friends, and it turns into a sort of conversation area.

    Or you can use it to update people on new posts on your blog, interesting links, etc.

    Or just use it to follow people and news you’re interested in.

  2. It’s a short way to mass communicate and network, using the website. You register, check to see if other people you know use it (the website software automatically checks your address book, and you can follow someone else’s twitters (short communications of 140 characters or less) and they can follow yours. Our local weekly paper has an account, and if you “follow” them, you can get links to breaking stories. Celebrities use it to keep fans apprised of their stuff, and friends use it to keep up with each other. Does this make more sense?

  3. I use Twitter to pass along links to articles, stories and other blog posts I find relevant to issues I blog about, but don’t have time to elaborate more on. My Twitter page is here.

  4. One of my favorite shoutcast video groups twits the server status and the weekly movie, which saves the admins from having to read and respond to a hundred posts about why the server is lagging. It is really useful for micro blogging technical things, like server status, live updates on software patches (like for a game) as they’re being developed. I can see twitting also to keep your friends & family up to date if you’re constantly on the road, where you are, how to get ahold of you, whether you’ll be in a meeting.

    I’m not interesting enough to have anything to twit about. I can’t imagine what most people use it for.

  5. I think the concept of Twitter is like Facebook/MySpace status updates crossed with a blog. Ingenious, but really appealing only to a certain social-centric type of person for personal Twitters. For blogs or business updates, it’s rather ingenious.

    It’s also very “chatty,” taking advantage of the plugged-in text-messaging generation.

    I’m signed up but haven’t used it. Then again, it took me years to catch on to the cell-phone, personal webpage, and then blog craze, so there’s that. πŸ˜‰

  6. You can also use many different applications to update twitter, not just the website. You can txt from your phone, there are ways to email twitter, iPhone and 3G phone apps, Firefox add-ons, and apps like TweetDeck, which I love because it shows you followers’ tweets, replies to you (“@name” replies), trending topics (so you can see if there’s some hot news or discussion), and tweets from specific groups of followers/friends, which you define.

  7. Not bloglike at all in my experience: it’s halfway between a chatroom and a newsgroup, and I’m interacting with people by conversing in 140-character posts. Lots of lively discussion. If someone merely answers “what are you doing?” then I don’t bother following them. It’s a community of interacting people as I experience it. And a very fast way to connect with lots of interesting intelligent people.

  8. Seriously, I think the three worst things you can do with Twitter are to treat it like a blog, to take any notice of the “What are you doing?” prompt, and to use the official website as your access to it. Get in there, find some interesting people, answer their tweets, and use an app like tweetdeck or a website like as your access. Follow interesting people, ignore the boring ones, and interact!

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