Monday, September 13, 2010

All About Twitter

While MySpace, Facebook and Orkut have already changed the way their users socialize, there is always demand for more. New technologies, simpler applications, ease of use have lead to innovations in the online world. Just when you thought you were accustomed to one social networking site, there's news: Tweeting in your PC.

Social networking sites and blogs are now the fourth most popular online activity and are growing in popularity twice as quickly as traditional online pursuits, such as email and searching. The Nielsen Online research found that 67 per cent of web users visit social networks and blogs, which now account for 10 percent of all time spent on the Internet, reports The 'in' thing among social networking websites is Twitter.

Twitter - a free social networking and micro-blogging service - enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known all followers.

Jack Dorsey created Twitter in 2006 and its simplicity has made it a rage among Internet users. Twitter asks one question, "What are you doing?" and the answers being under 140 characters can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web.
Twitter is sometimes described as the "SMS of the Internet". Unlike Orkut and Facebook where you have 'friends', Twitter allows you to follow people whom you want to see updates from. The idea behind other social sites is to connect people that already know one another while the idea behind Twitter is to allow you to connect people that you find interesting, but don't necessarily know. Both have their weighed pros and cons.

How do I get started?
On the page find a link which reads, 'Get Started - Join'. All you have to do is to enter your full name and email address and choose a user name and a password. If you have accounts with Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or MSN, you can use any of them to find friends who are already using this service. You are also offered a list of famous tweeters you can follow.
You can then start tweeting, by typing in the box on top of the page whatever you want to say. Although you're asked 'What are you doing?' you can post anything you want. Tweets can also be deleted. You can also reply to tweets of people you follow.

How do I follow?
When you create an account, you can search for people by name or user name, import friends from other networks, or invite friends via email. Once you've found your friends, follow them to start getting their updates. Following someone simply means receiving his/her Twitter updates. When you follow someone, every time he/she posts a new message, it will appear in your Twitter home page.

When you sign up for Twitter, you have the option of keeping your account public (the default account setting) or protecting the account to keep your updates private. Protected accounts receive a follow request every time someone wants to follow him/her and only approved followers are able to see the profile page.

While the UK Government has made it official to Tweet for its civil servants, Twitter has a long way to go in India. In the meantime, for all those who like to keep themselves updated and in the loop, Twitter's the way to get you there.

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