Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, April 17, 2009

What is Twitter and Why Do I Care?

Is this a question you’re asking yourself? Twitter

I wrote about Twitter in Sept 2007 when I first became “Twitterpaited”. Since that time Twitter has grown to become the most talked about web technology since Beanie Babies discovered eBay or Google went public.  Today, the Oprah Show demo’d Twitter but still left many wondering “What the heck is Twitter, and why do I care”.

Well, the fact is, most of you probably don’t care. For information junkies like myself who are online most of the day, Twitter is a great tool. For people struggling to raise a family or others who have a more active life, Twitter may not have a lot of importance.

Twitter is often called a “Micro-blogging” service but what’s that mean? Well, folks can type what ever is on their mind but with only 140 characters or less. There is plenty of value in Twitter but it all depends on who you follow and if you care what those people have to say. Some people think Twitter is only for mobile devices and while that’s one reason for the 140 characters it’s not just for iPhones and Blackberries.

The real value of Twitter can be had without joining Twitter or creating a name and password.  It’s Using Twitter as a search engine will provide real-time information on news events along with opinions from around the world. The news and information you can find on will not only beat Google, but will frequently beat the AP wire service. That’s one of the reasons you’ll find all your local TV stations and newspaper using and promoting Twitter.

If you want to give Twitter a try you can join and then follow me at  I don’t get any special credit for you joining but you’ll get to see what I babble about daily. You could be my 1000th follower.

If you’re looking for interesting people to follow, again I recommend using  Type in a topic you’re interested in and you’ll see people talking about the same subject.  If they sound intelligent, just click on their name and you’ll be able to follow their “tweets”. They’ll be notified you’re following them and there’s a good chance they’ll follow you back. It doesn’t mean you’re now best friends but you’ll be part global conversation. You can always unfollow or block someone if you don’t think they’re an appropriate part of your twitter community.

Like any internet service, privacy and security is something you should always keep in mind. Anything you type will be on the Internet forever. You may not want to trust a link that someone tells you to click on, and just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

35 Twitter Tips from 35 Twitter Users

Pogue's Twittering Tips for Beginners



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Blogger Unknown said...

Well - for an old codger like me - you still didn't explain it. How is it different from email that you put all your friends in an address group and then send your every thought? You even use more characters with email. So why Twitter?

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From another Old Codger...

I used to Twitter, but I had that hemmorhoid surgery, and that was the end of that.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still did not explain it at all

2:38 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I guess part of what I'm saying is if you don't understand, you probably don't really need to worry about it. It's not like you need to Twitter to be cool. however is a tool that everyone should bookmark and take advantage of.


4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As another Old Codger I am past wanting to be "cool" so I will give it a miss. Come to think of it I never did aspire to coolness.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a tech junky (Broadcast Eng. by trade) and I just could not find the value in Twitter. I have gone round and round with several of these on-line technologies and they all are a big distracting waste of time in my book. Out of them all, I did decide to keep my FaceBook account active as a way to keep in touch with my old friends and to network within my group of business contacts but, it becomes real easy to join-up with more and more of these sites and soon, you are hooked into several hours a day, on the computer, in order to keep up. I am usually on the computer for several hours a day already but with these services, it adds to my time spent on the computer each day while at the same time, allowing me less actual productivity...

A fine line between useful information and distraction...

10:09 PM  
Anonymous rab said...

if ur looking for a social networking site like myspace,facebook etc then twitter isent for u . i gave it a whirl but found it had no use to me as im on everyone,s mailing list and i find out my info that way

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that. I've been looking for a good, succinct explanation of Twitter's value for quite awhile. I joined Twitter (or was that FaceBook? Both? I don't remember.) because the ether that envelopes us says you've got to or you're just not in the know. But even after I joined I couldn't figure out why I was there and what I was supposed to be doing in that space. Maybe you need a following to see its value. Or maybe you just need to be a lot younger than I am to find it interesting. But I'll try that search feature. Maybe that will deliver the goods.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I checked out Twitter. I gave it a real try and tried to be fair. My opinion it is the BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME, TALENT, AND THINKING, I have ever encountered. Who cares what people babble about? And why are all these idiots babbling and twittering instead of reading something important or even reading something just for fun I wonder if any of them have ever heard about something called a BOOK.

Get off the darn twitter mobile and write your mom a letter. It would make her day and she would even possibly care what the hell any of you who twitter have to say.

Cranky Old Lady

9:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been on it for a while. It's a complete waste of time. Communication is largely one way. Imagine standing in front of a bulletin board all day, watching little notes being posted.
"Time for a beer."
"Is it Friday yet?"
"Hey, my dog sneezed under water."
"Longer shoelaces are 8 percent wider, on average, but only 6 percent heavier per unit length."

Great. Congratulations. I don't need it. Or Facebook. Or LinkedIn. Or MySpace.

If you like any of these, swell. I'm happy for you.

Mark Yannone

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:00 AM  
Blogger warrenlj said...

It seems like it would be great for a service style company that is trying to keep in touch with there field personel. The office can keep in touch with the field but can the field reply or notifly them, can they twitter among each other (ie support)?

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a tech, so gadgets and new softwares appeal to me, but... couldn't see how Twitter would be Such a Great Thing, for me. Seems like you'd be tied to a display and keyboard all day, for... ?? Maybe it's great for the kids who grew up on txt messaging... but eventually you have to put it down and get to work or whatever. Like being tied to a pager?!! (and do you like being tied to a pager??)

My friends won't be tweeting, that's for sure, so there's little use to me for that... and I can't care what Ashton Kutcher is tweeting. Yes it might be of use if you could find someone in a news-as-it-happens situation... is there a Twitter 'Happening Now' alert for breaking news??

If there were a news tweet like the CNN crawler, then it's getting interesting... if there were perhaps some technical experts who shared somewhat -reliable- tidbits/rumors/updates (like Bill? ;), then maybe that would be useful.

I was thinking if I had a message bar on my browser, or desktop/taskbar crawler... and I could just set it and forget it ...then I MIGHT glance at it occasionally, being as I'm online most of the day.

Then it occurred to me that it might include all the social services -messages only-, and what not... a common interface ...and writing this, the Twitter 'crawler' idea... also, tie in cellular SMS, if a person chose to configure that... with a tweet-length reply to whichever source. (and email notifiers? I'll stop now ;)
I guess I should go look, but... Does Twitter have some PC toolbar display or something?

Is Bill up for writing an all-inclusive social and 'expert' messager, breaking news, and SMS, etc., sources -crawler-? ;) Just a simple bar/displayer with multiple sources. (Then you know the browsers will incorporate it.) Do I get a 'cut'? ;)

5:10 AM  

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