For those of you who haven’t yet used Twitter, or don’t know what it is, I guess the best way to describe it to most people is a combination of blogging and updating your status on Facebook (in fact, you can do that via Twitter anyway). There are so many ways to “tweet”, such as using the website iself, sending a text message (who the hell says SMS anyway?) or using a third party application (I use a combination of Hahlo, Twhirl and Twinkle on my computers and iPod). A tweet is text based only (although it can contain links) and is 140 characters long (so just a bit shorter than a text message)
I’ve been using Twitter since 2007 – 24th January to be exact. At first, I didn’t really use it very much, but as I began to follow more people, and as more of my “real life” friends signed up, I tweet much more regularly. I think that being jobless and moving to a new city also helped – I reached 1000 tweets on 9th May, 2008 which was just before I moved down to Bristol, and reached 2000th tweets on 5th August 2008.
Twitter is a great way to just scribble things down, random little notes throughout the day that when you read over them (I use LoudTwitter to post a days worth of tweets to my Livejournal) remind you of funny little things. Its also quite a nice way to get an idea of what your friends are doing in their normal day. People are more likely to tweet seemingly small, insignificant things than actually phone you or send you a text/IM telling you the same thing.
Its also a great way to promote something – I find that quite a lot of visits to my blog are from the automated tweet that is sent out telling people when I have written a new blog. Unfortuntaly the spammers have quickly caught on to this, which is why I have been followed in the past week by porn_website20, porn_website21 and porn_website22. I’m not sure why the previous 19 porn_website twitters didn’t follow me. Should I really be that upset? Luckily, Twitter seems to be quite quick at deleting these spam accounts, but its not much of a problem anyway.
The things I think could be improved about Twitter is mainly to do with their stability and missing features. Inevitably, as more and more people are signing up and using it as much as I do, the system had some issues which was frustrating to Twitter addicts (ahem). To keep the site up, they have removed some functionality that I had gotten quite used to, such as the IM notifications which I preferred when I was at my desk.
I think it would be great if Twitter had a similar function for your following list as Livejournal does. By this I mean having custom groups to separate people – I have things like Cult of Mac (twitter/cultofmac), Dr Horrible (twitter/drhorrible) and Channel 4 News (twitter/channel4news) on my Twitter list, but I would prefer to be able to read these separately.