HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Are you on Twitter yet? Well we sure are.
If you don't understand Twitter, read on. If you do, head to the bottom of this article to see all the options we offer at WDAM.
So, what is Twitter?
Don't think of Twitter as another social networking site like MySpace or Facebook. Think of it as a tool, like the telephone or email or text messaging.
Twitter has a silly name, but then again, so does Google. What Twitter offers are news feeds for individuals. People can share links and ideas or ask questions and offer advice in a steady stream of updates limited to 140 characters each.
Others can reply to those updates, or resend them.
The people who use Twitter can send updates from their computers or their phones, and those updates appear will appear instantly.
Sometimes, these updates are mundane, sometimes they are useful. It's up to the individual.
Reporters send updates about what they are working on. Celebrities send updates about current projects. Businessmen provide insight into their companies. Politicians discuss policy and legislation. Your friends might talk about what they had for lunch, or how what they think of the movie they just saw.
You choose who to follow, just like other choose whether or not to follow you.
The character limit is based on the standard limit on text messages from cell phones, which are usually 160 characters. The creators of Twitter left some room for the user's name.
Because these updates are so short, Twitter is sometimes called a microblogging tool.
The real power of Twitter is how people use it during events when many people get together and start sending updates about a single topic - a plane crash, a revolution, a movie, a new product, and so on. Often, during events like those, people from within the story will send out updates from the scene.
Twitter is also searchable, which means you can look for updates about specific topics, people or events and see results in real time from thousands of individuals.
One caveat, many organizations use Twitter as a marketing tool. So, remember when you follow an organization, you may just be subscribing to the equivalent of junk mail. But, if it is a topic you are interested in - go for it.
Here are some useful links once you get started at www.twitter.com:
Twitter search - just like Google, but only for Twitter updates
Twitturly - the latest links sent out using Twitter organized by popularity
Twitter visualizations - unique graphs and other ways to see what people are saying
Hashtags - topics assigned a hash (#) so people can quickly organize a conversation
Tweet Tabs - Real-time search results from Twitter which update automatically while you watch.
Here are all the people at WDAM who are updating on Twitter: