29 August 2008

How I Use Twitter: Sponge and Complaints

Twitter: a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

I've been signed up as @silver_mari for maybe six weeks or so. I've posted 136 updates so far, and I follow 59 people -- a few friends, but mostly "strangers" who are social media masters - experts who are writing about the things I'm interested in. I listen to them - or their tweets - that send me to articles, blog postings and other thought pieces about new ways to do things in online media, social networking and blogging. I found and followed them piecemeal. Using the Twitter search function and then checking out the tweets of @'s from those I was already following.

I use twitter like a sponge would use water. I soak it up and mostly listen and learn. Gives a new meaning to the term "sponge-worthy." Just call me Sponge-Mari-Round-Pants?

Sometimes I tweet a link to a story that I think is interesting. My followers are few - mostly a few friends, some spammers and a few people I follow who feel required to follow me back (believe me, I'm not looking to have a massive following, but there's no real way to say "no really, it's OK if I just listen to you").

Because that gets to the second prong of how I use Twitter - as my very own complaint box. Back hurting? I think I'll tweet it. Tempature uncomfortable? Tweet! Work mates driving me crazy? TWEEEEEET!

It provides me a record - much like this blog does. So many of the things I'm writing are for me, as a personal quick record of what I'm thinking or doing. I don't think anyone else would be interested in it, but it's there... Is that wise? I'm not sure. But it is what it is.

I use BeTwittered on my iGoogle page, which is also where I read my Google Reader RSS feeds and gmail. I use Firefox and open links in new tabs - so at some points I can get so far behind with more than a dozen tabs open and no idea who led me to what. That is my sometimes dilemma.

With @NPR Politics, a twitterer (tweeter?) that I follow, I've found a desire for a Twitter feature - the pause button. Because the play-by-play tweets of the conventions basically drown out any other tweets I follow. I still want to follow this tweeter, but more so when it's a few tweets a day, not a few tweets a minute.

So ends my thoughts - for now - on twitter and how I've managed to use it.

~Mari.

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