Are you on Twitter? Given recent surges in users and all of the recent press coverage there is a good chance that you are or will be.
A lot of famous people have decided to start using twitter in the last couple of years. Barack Obama got a lot of publicity using twitter during his presidential campaign and he was the most followed user on twitter for quite a while. When I looked other day he had been passed up by 5 other users but still had 749,682 Followers! CNN Breaking News had the most followers @897,969. After CNN, came Britney Spears with 873,333 followers, Ashton Kutcher with 869,604 followers, and The Ellen Show with 767,527 followers. Musical acts are using twitter more and more, John Mayer, Coldplay, Dave Matthews and Britney Spears (already mentioned as the 2nd most followed user) all are within the top 100 followed twitterers. Politicians have seen a way of connecting with their supporters and would be supporters with Al Gore, Senator John McCain, Downing Street (the famous street where of the British Prime Minister lives and the official twitter site for the Prime Minister's office), George Stephanopouls along with the previously mentioned Barak Obama are all among the top 100 followed twitters as well. Star Trek fans are probably not surprised to see Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner are all among the top 100 most followed twitters and William Shatner (Captain Kirk, himself) isn't so far off back in the top 300. Other noteable twitterers in the top 100 include Jimmy Fallon; famous 7 time Tour de Francer winner Lance Armstrong; American Top 40 host Ryan Seacrest; actress Demi More (her user name is Mrs. Kutcher, by the way); Kevin Rose from Digg; motivation author and speaker Tony Robbins; Penn Jilltte from Penn & Teller; Martha Stewart; and GTD creator David Allen. Note I found the above users listed on April 15th at 7:55 Central European Time at Twitterholic, which ranks twitter users, I've mentioned them below in a section of helpful tools, services, and websites related to twitter.
Since twitter has been generating a lot of publicity with its famous users and media coverage in general, a lot of people are seeing it as a good way to promote themselves, their products, reaching out to customers and potential customers. Many of the media outlets are tweeting (a term used for the micro blogging updates/posts made by twitter users, I've included this in some of the terms defined below) news and twitter useage has spiked during events like the January inaguration of President Obama and the Superbowl, it allows a form of interactivity not possible before. Twitpic had pictures of the Hudson River Crash before most of the news organizations did. A search on the "Hudson River Crash" in SearchTwitter, yields five pages of tweets associated with the now famous crash landing on the Hudson River. Twitter is allowing and fueling more citizen journalism than ever before.
For those of you not familar with Twitter, I thought that I give you a quick explanation of some of the terms that you'll see on Twitter, you'll see most of these terms in the two screenshots directly above.
- following are people that you subscribe to their updates, so you'll see their updates as they post them.
- followers are people that subscribe to your updates, they'll see your updates after you post them.
- updates are posts by yourself or other users.
- @"your user name" shows tweets or updates where @"your user name" are mentioned.
- Direct Messages are similar to email but they're limited to 140 characters. Depending upon your settings anyone or only selected people can send you direct messages. Direct Messages are often abbreviated as DM.
- Favorites are tweets/updates that you have "favorited" to be able to find easily in the future.
- Everyone are tweets/updates from the entire twitter population (sometimes referred to as the Twitterverse), these would include people that you aren't following as well as those that you are.
- Tweet: another term for the microbloging that twitter users do when they post updates. Tweets are limited to 140 characters.
- RT: refers to retweeting, or rebroadcasting of someone else's tweet. This is generally encouraged because it can help your tweet go viral (or be wildly promoted).
- #: hashtags are used around terms that help to identify them in search and there is an service that I've listed below that searches hashtags.
Because Twitter has made its API (Application Programming Interface) publicly available there are more and more services and applications cropping up everyday. I've put together some twitter related services/applications as well as some websites that you might find useful below...
- TwiTip is a blog edited by ProBlogger Darren Rowse. They publish a variety of wide ranging articles on the use of Twitter that is widely read.
- MoMB is the Museum of Modern Betas lists 100 twitter related applications and services.
- TweetDeck is a popular twitter client using Adobe Air
- Twhirl is another popular twitter client also using Adobe Air
- Twitdom lists most all of the applications and services associated with Twitter
- search.twitter allows you to search twitter
- Twitterholic ranks global users based on the number of followers. I ran my user id through (April 15, 5am local time) and ranked 30,224th globally and 7th in the Frankfurt, Germany area.
- Twitt (url)ly shows popular links that are being tweeted
- Twitpic allows you to share pictures on twitter
You can tweet via twitter directly, typing your update into the box below "What are you doing?" on the twitter website (see my second screenshot) , through one of the twitter clients (I've mentioned a couple of popular ones above), or through a variety of websites and applications now available. I often use Ping (I recently wrote about it here)
Of the celebrity twitterers listed above, many won't follow you back, but some do, at anyrate it can be interesting to see what they're up to. I hope that you've found this post useful. If you're not already using Twitter, why not give it a try? Feel free to follow me, but please send me a DM with some reference so that I know who you are. I've embedded a Twitter in Plain English video below for some further explanation.