Whither Twitter


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Whither Twitter

  1. 1. Presented by Roman Koshykar Liaison Librarian to GCCIS, Wallace Library in conjunction with the Center for Professional Development April 28, 2009
  2. 2. Today’s agenda  Crash course in Twitter  What is Twitter good for?  Some examples of Twitter use at RIT  A little bit about blogging (Twitter’s big brother)  Explanation of RSS – the technology that makes all this possible
  3. 3. What is all the chatter about?  What is ? 1. A free, web-based social networking service 2. An annoying, time-wasting fad 3. The fastest growing social networking site of 2009 4. The best-known example of a micro-blogging system 5. A great way for mobile computing users to communicate
  4. 4. Twitter is all of these things!  Yes, even the “annoying fad” part  Let’s look at these characteristics one by one (in no particular order)
  5. 5. Twitter is a social network  The premise of Twitter is that each and every Twitter user is to answer the same question over and over again  WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW?  Twitter is highly social, and every Twitter user can follow other users’ posts  Twitter is NOT instant messaging – it is not a real-time conversation
  6. 6. Twitter is a micro-blogging system  Micro-blogs are just what they sound like – short-form blogs where content is posted in very small chunks  Twitter limits you to no more than 140 characters in a single post (that includes spaces and punctuation)  Twitter has been called the Web’s equivalent of the Short Message Service (SMS) – more commonly known by cell phone users and teenagers everywhere as “texting”
  7. 7. Twitter is mobile  Mobile computing is huge – even bigger outside the United States  People with iPhones or BlackBerries can post to their Twitter accounts and read other people’s Twitter posts using their mobile devices  Laptop/desktop Twitter users interact with Twitter’s Web site; mobile phone users can get Twitter posts via text messages; smart phone users download a special interface (called an “app”) to their device to use Twitter  The most popular mobile Twitter app is called Twitterific
  8. 8. Twitter is growing exponentially  Twitter was only created in 2006  The Internet demographics firm Quantcast tracks Twitter usage – let’s look at some stats  End of February 2009 – 6 million users  End of March 2009 – 15 million users (estimated)  Twitter’s user population grew 2 ½ times in one month!  Twitter has become so popular, there are many examples from this year and last year of the site crashing due to heavy use  Most famous example – Macworld 2008, when Steve Jobs gave his keynote address
  9. 9. Twitter is an annoying fad?  Well, decide for yourself…  One of the articles on handout – the Psychology of Twitter  Twitter pros: its popularity shows that it fits a niche in the world of online communication; it’s a public conversation medium  Twitter cons: it defaults to public conversation (you have to turn on privacy features yourself); since it’s continuous and nonstop, you can easily feel like you have missed something – like walking into the middle of a conversation
  10. 10. What is it good for?  According to Twitter’s own site, Twitter is good for real-time updates to your friends and family  New York Times tech reporter David Pogue has a good example of Twitter’s usefulness  More from David Pogue (short video)  Twitter’s been all over the news this year – read all about it on your own!
  11. 11. Let’s talk Twitter  Twitter users have developed their own terminology  Twitter (n): the name of the world’s most popular micro-blogging service  Twitter (v): to post something on Twitter – also has the infinitive form Twittering  Tweet: a post on Twitter  Someone who posts on Twitter is a Twitterer or a Tweeter (I’ve heard both)
  12. 12. Let’s talk Twitter (advanced)  Hash tagging: the practice of tagging Tweets (that is, assigning them an identifying keyword called a tag) with a hash mark (aka pound sign). Twitter users can search these hash tags on the Twitter site to find Tweets about some particular topic (#rochester or #rit, for example)  At replies: @ sign followed by a Twitter user name identifies a Tweet directed at another Twitter user – helps you have conversations with others via Tweets
  13. 13. Time to have a look!  Test Twitter page set up for today’s session  http://twitter.com/SampleForTest  I’ll log in and show you some of the basic features
  14. 14. Time to have a look!  A couple of personal accounts from my co-workers  http://twitter.com/Chrislerch  http://twitter.com/bizlibrarian  Updates on Twitter from RIT departments  http://twitter.com/RIT_InfoSec  http://twitter.com/RITNEWS  You’ll end up discovering others by looking at who is following these Twitter feeds!
  15. 15. Try it for yourself Beginner’s guide to Twitter (listed on your handout)
  16. 16. Really, Twitter is blogging?  Blogging is a much more established practice than Twittering – been around for roughly a decade; probably caught on around five years ago  The idea is the same – you set up a personal site (they provide the framework) and you write about and post what you are interested in (you provide the content)  Blogging sites often offer more features – commenting, ability to post images, embed video or sound clips
  17. 17. Really, Twitter is blogging?  Biggest difference between Twittering and blogging – short form (only 140 characters!) vs. long form  Twitter users have come up with creative ways of getting around the character limit  Use of link shortening sites like TinyURL – allows you to take a very long link and shorten it, so as to use many fewer characters  “Serial Tweets” – post things in chunks – there’s no limit to the number of Tweets, only to the length of each Tweet
  18. 18. Some popular blogging sites  Blogger – Google’s popular blogging site  LiveJournal – oldest blogging site, structured like an online diary  WordPress – another popular blogging site  Movable Type – rather than a Web site, Movable Type is software you install – example is Business Resources Blog from the Library
  19. 19. How do they work?  The technology that powers Twitter, blogging, and other social web sites is called Really Simple Syndication (RSS)  RSS is a technology used to create “feeds” on the Web; these feeds allow for continuous publication of news, blog posts, Tweets, podcasts, and many other types of Web content  Brief video (about 3 ½ minutes) will serve as an introduction to RSS
  20. 20. Tying things together  Is your head spinning yet?  It’s ok – Social Web technologies are largely about having fun, but most importantly, they are about staying connected  Any one site (say, Twitter) may not be around forever  But the idea of short, rapid status updates has found its way into other Social Web technologies  Facebook’s latest redesign has a suspiciously Twitter- like home page when you log in!
  21. 21. Thank you and stay connected!