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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ten Things to Like about Twitter

It's been so long since I started making this list of 10 Things to Like about Twitter, I forgot to list them all in one top ten list. But to call this a top ten is a misnomer. It's hardly the definitive 10 best things about Twitter. I haven't even touched on the commercial possibilities Twitter presents, the potential for social change, or anything all that much bigger than my own private Twittersphere.

That's the point, really. This is my list. These are 10 things you should like because I like them. If you're an experienced tweetist, you may hate some of them. If you're new to Twitter . . . you might hate some of them. But I like 'em. Humor me.

I guess I should also preface this with a brief tutorial. If you want to partake in the Twitterfest, it's really not hard, far simpler than Facebook or just about anything else you could do online. Twitter is a place (or a method) for updating and getting updates on anything or anyone. To get started, just go to Twitter.com, browse, sign up, go to my page, and click "Follow." Alright, this is a long preface. Here's the 10 Things I Like about Twitter:

10. Trends. When a topic gets tweeted a lot, the keywords show up at various places on Twitter (the home page, the sidebar). You can find out what people are talking about almost as soon as they start talking about them.

9. Hashtags. That's Twitterese for putting a # in front of your update's (or tweet's) keyword, so you can easily find tweets about the same thing. It's more useful (and less confusing) than it sounds.

8. No Commitment. You don't have to read everything your friends, followers, or followees post. You don't have to join groups, causes, or drawn-out comment threads. It's light, casual . . . we're just friends with twitterfits. That was terrible.

7. The Return of Editing. You only have 140 characters, and everybody can read it. You best clean up your spelling and grammar, there, kid.

6. Twt.fm. And other easily postable links to the music of the moment. If a song is stuck in your head, why shouldn't you lure some unsuspecting soul to wallow/revel in it.

5. No Computer Necessary. Most Internet experiences get a serious downgrade when you switch to mobile. Twitter was made for mobile. You don't have to live like a nerd to get your geek on.

4. Anyone Can Do It. Kelso from That 70's Show is the Twitter king. If you can't at least get started . . . okay, there's no then statement. You can at least get started.

3. We, Not They. Twitter users determine what reigns on Twitter. Not The Media. Not The Government. Not The Corporate World. It's ours, people. We have no one to blame but us.

2. Conversation. I like to think Twitter is just one big conversation. It's in the moment. Blogging is more of a journal for posterity. Twitter doesn't wait around that long. Twitter is now. Twitter is a party to which everyone is invited, everyone can hear (almost) everything anyone is saying, and it's real easy to sneak away.

1. Words. In a world of video, images, CGI wizardry, Twitter is governed by the almighty word. Thank God.

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