Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twitter? Facebook? What's the Point!?

So then, lets take a few minutes to look at this whole twitter thing a little closer.

I think it was at least a couple of years ago I checked out twitter and thought "meh, boring". Then again not long after that I checked it out again and thought "pfft, status updates? boring". I confess I judged unfairly and even in ignorance.

The only real reason twitter might be "boring" is if a.) you don't know anyone tweeting and the ones you do read are saying nothing of interest to you and b.) you're not "following" anyone and never see any updates. It would be rather boring to login and see nothing, I think.

So taking a closer look, is twitter just a way to post status updates? No, it's not. Certainly you can do that all day long if you like, such as "I'm eating lunch" or "I can't find my shoes", but I think the only people doing that are probably also in therapy as well. The "status" update field can actually be used for lots of really cool stuff. Here's a sample of what I see when I login (this is what's there right now, as I type this):

- I'm having a lot trouble getting into Good Friday and Easter...Roman Catholic 'holy'-days. Is that a bad thing for a Christian?

- The best news the world ever had came from a graveyard. "He is risen!"

- Meditations on the Cross from Boice & Ryken: http://tr.im/iAuC

- "The devil loves to fish in troubled waters." -John Trapp

So that's a small sample. Whoever you've added to "follow" will show up in your twitter homepage (live feed) whenever they update & you'll see whats on their mind at the moment. It's great for comments, questions, sharing links, prayer requests, posting links to cool pics and more. I like to update when I add something new in the store, have a link to share or just say hey to a friend. I've used it this week to post notices of the missing girl in my local area, to help make others aware. So no, it's not exactly just an over-hyped status update deal, it's a micro-blogging site where you really do have to be creative enough to post good stuff, in 140 characters or less. Sometimes it's easy, other times you have to be rather creative.

I've seen some folks comment about how they already have/use FB, so using twitter would be pointless for them. I suppose that might certainly apply in some cases, but for a lot of people twitter is MUCH better. Why? Simple, it's short, sweet and to the point. The layout is nice and clean, it loads fast even for us dinosaurs on dialup, and unless you're brand new and really want to spend time researching all the links and whatnot, you really can't spend much time there. I can login, post an update, read updates from others, respond to the ones that catch my eye and logout in less than 10 minutes. Boom. Done. No wait time for sidebar apps to load, no lag time, no nonsense. I really like that. An added bonus is, is that if you really want to play around with it there's a page here with some pretty cool twitter apps to use, and yet another page here just loaded to the teeth, with even more cool twitter apps. You can keep it real simple and just "tweet" from the main site or you can take some time to explore and play around with those apps to see what you like best.

Another comment I've seen was that it's too hard to learn how to use a new deal like this. It might be for some, but twitter is so easy it might make you giggle. Seriously. It doesn't take long at all to figure out how to use it, and if you watch the way others post/update it's pretty self-explanitory how things work. RT is a re-tweet (repost) of something someone else said that you really liked, a tweet is an update (the whole bird-theme, it seems lame to some but it's kind of cute), and using # before a word as in #tulip or #homeschool drops your tweet in the mega-monumental twitter search deal where others can find your tweets on that particular subject. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's pretty much it for starters, and pretty much the way most people use it.

One other thing I've found handy with twitter is that you can sync it with FB to actually update your FB status when you update your twitter status. I'd been seeing others do this for quite some time but I didn't bother with it until yesterday. It was as easy as adding the twitter app ON FB, and using the option to let twitter update my FB status.

So, that's the deal with twitter. I quite enjoy it, and for me it's much better than FB. This might sound like tech-babble to some, but if you were wondering about it, I do hope this is helpful. I'm sure I've left some things out that make it even more interesting for others (feel free to mention how you use twitter), but that's the gist of it. If you're already registered you can feel free to add me (http://twitter.com/carlarolfe) and if you're not registered, you can still see my page there (and who's following me, and who I'm following, in case you were interested in that too).


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