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'Twittering' is becoming popular over the Internet

March 31, 2008

by Mark Ollig

Presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Ron Paul have used it.

What is this latest form of social networking taking place over the Internet?

It is called “Twitter.” A bird chirps or tweets to communicate and in the Twitter World, a person chatting is “Twittering.”

It began as an internal method of keeping in contact with others inside a research company in a California start-up company in 2006.

Twitter has turned into the latest fad for keeping others informed of what you are doing.

Are you a member of a close circle of friends who like to keep in contact with each other?

Twitter provides the method of keeping friends informed of what you’re doing from wherever you happen to be.

As blogging is to journaling, twittering is the new method to instantly inform your friends of what you happen to be doing at any particular moment of the day.

With Twitter, you’re using instant text messaging from your cell phone or the Twitter web site to jot down a few sentences (up to 140 characters) of what you happen to be doing or to leave messages for your circle of friends who subscribe to your Twitter.

When you send a text normally, you might send it to a mobile phone or an e-mail address.

With Twitter, you use what is called a “short code.” Twitter’s code is 40404, which is a special phone number you use to interact with Twitter on your mobile phone.

You can send mobile simple text messages or (SMS) to your group of friends and the messages are also posted to your personal Twitter page on the Twitter web site.

So, if your friends do not have access to alert messages on their cell phone, they can check out your Twitter web page instead to know what the latest happenings are in your world.

I wondered how Twitter could be beneficial to a business.

Here is one example.

Say “Munchie Bars Candies” launched a new brand of its popular munchies bar.

A “Twitter-connected” consumer walks into a retail store, he notices the new product, purchases and immediately munches it up. This person falls in love with the new candy bar brand, and he’s hooked.

The next thing he does is SMS to his Twitter account the message “Hey! You know what? Munchie Bars just launched a new brand and it rocks!”

His friends who get this Twitter message will SMS or Twitter their circle of friends about it also.

What’s more, if these other Twitter user friends have mobile alerts enabled on their Twitter account, think about how they would react if they happened to be near a retail store that sells Munchie Bars at that moment!

Yes indeed . . . they will stop in and purchase one.

In a way, using Twitter text messaging over your mobile phone could be thought of as a form of blogging.

Not only will the text message travel to other phones, it will instant message and create a web entry or a “tweet,” which is the short messages Twitter-users post.

Folks who sign up for these Twitter notifications are interested in what this person is doing during the day.

These daily jottings are like reading someone’s diary — only in this case, you have their permission.

People who sign up for notifications from Twitter are expressing interest in the person or company sending out the notifications.

I have begun to notice many Twitter addresses being added to e-mails, chats and blogs.

I believe it would be impractical to sign up to too many Twitterers’ alerts for your mobile phone as you will be getting so many of these alerts throughout the day, it might prove annoying.

But hey, some folks live for their mobile phone texting, lol.

Ask any teenager.

I have begun to notice how these early Twitter adopters seem to have an easier time acquiring new friends and “followers.”

Twitter content has been making it into the search engines, also.

Googling “Twitter” will bring back over 27 million search results.

Twitter is a free service, however, in the future, they might introduce optional “for-pay” features or services. Twitter does say the basic usage will remain free.

I would like to point out with your phone alerts turned on, Twitter makes use of texting or SMS, and so it would be a good idea to check with your mobile provider to find out if incoming text messages will cost you extra.

If you currently Instant Message (IM) from your phone now, you can start to send and receive Twitter messages from your friends, too.

To use Twitter, just go to their web site at http://www.twitter.com and sign up for your Twitter name and password.

When you do this, you will be able to check out my newly-created Twitter username, “bitsandbytes,” and read my ramblings.

Also, check out http://explore.twitter.com for linking other applications out of Twitter.