Katherine Hannaford writes...
It's happened. As much as I protested, kicking and screaming about how I had far too many social networking applications as is, I've become a recent Twitter convert. Yes, Katie has brainwashed me, I am a fully-fledged email-validation-holding member. But, I might add (ever so pompously, of course), that at least I joined before the media started making such a right old hoo-ha about it all since the recent SXSW multimedia festival in Texas, where it was unanimously proclaimed The Greatest Thing Since RSS Feeds. Oh, ok, sliced bread then, you purist. Ahh yes, us techites love nothing more than to boast that we were using Flickr/MySpace/Vox/YouTube before you were, daaahhling. Don't deny it! But is the site worthy of all this excess hype that's being lumped onto it, like custard onto a sultana-dotted Spotted Dick? Should we really waste three minutes of our precious internetting time signing up, when we could easily be updating our Facebook profile or commenting on sexy_angel32's Live Journal blog in response to her boyfriend dramas?
Truth be told, it could be easy to say that Twitterhas already jumped the shark, at just seven months of age, with the amount of users more than doubling, to 100,000, in just the past few weeks. This is no doubt due to the recent media coverage, as aforementioned, but I believe it was inevitable - this really is a great program. Simple to use, more than easy to integrate as a widget onto your personal site or blog, this is one handy application, perfect for the less verbose amongst us. So what is it? Why, it's a 'micro-blogger', where you can notify your followers with no more than 140 words on your activities.
It appears the aim with Twitterisn't so much updating your friends/groupies/internet-stalkers on what your thoughts are on the war in Iraq or other long-winded diatribes, it's getting back to what blogging started out as, getting back to menial updates such as 'ooh I just made a cup of chai tea and am reading my RSS feeds - awesome'. Not exactly mentally-stimulating, but enjoyable nonetheless, as it's highly self-indulgent, particularly when your main blog dwells on more important topics. You might be asking why anyone would want to read drivel such as what music you're listening to or what you are doing that evening, but strangely enough - it's compelling enough for me to check what my friends are up to every couple of hours.
There are several different ways you can use Twitterof course - either by logging onto their website, sending in updates via text message, or through Instant Messaging, for those of us still stuck in 1998. And, what works one way also works the other, with the ability to receive updates on your friends' actions on your mobile phone, although beware, as this can prove rather costly, as Twitter users throughout the world are just finding out on receiving their phone bills.
As usual, with a new social networking application, there are always some class clowns, which often make the program all the more enjoyable. Some of my favourite Twitter friends happen to be Bill Clinton, Borat, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Homer Simpson, MacGyver, Santa Claus, Steve Jobs, and my personal favourite, the obviously very faux PhakeCalacanis, an homage to web entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis.
I haven't even mentioned the numerous add-ons available with Twitter, nor the fantastic site Twitterholic, which takes you straight back to high school with a ranking of the creme de la creme of Twitter users. Half the fun of using Twitter is discovering all the little perks out there fans have created - so go forth, readers, and create one for yourself! Just don't forget to add us Shiny Shiny girls while you're at it!