6 Weird Wonderful Things People Have Built With Twitter
When real life happens, there’s no time to blog it or email it. Twitter is a free, public, online blogging platform where people can broadcast short, quick messages. The text messages are just 140 characters long, counting spaces, so short that Twitter is called micro-blogging. You can post blogs on Twitter round the clock from your browser or your cell phone. All you need to use Twitter is an internet connection or a mobile phone.
- 1. It’s Astonishing What Twitter Can Do for You
- 2. A Few Examples of Twitter Messages
- 3. How Twitter Got Started
- 4. How to Join the Twitter Social Network
- 5. Following and Followers, Friends on Twitter Social Network
- 6. How to Send Messages on Twitter
- 7. How to Search Twitter Conversations
- 8. How Popular Are You on Twitter?
- 9. Privacy on Twitter, Blocking, Spam, Unfollow
- 10. Weird, Wacky, Wonderful Uses for Twitter
1. It’s Astonishing What Twitter Can Do for You
Anyone can follow Twitter, read the updates as they come in real-time, and keep in touch with people. It is an interesting and practical messaging format for groups and friends. With the ability to connect people around the world, Twitter is a powerful tool for communicating, sharing ideas and collaborating. Like live conversation, Twitter tells us what people are doing, thinking and talking about. One person called it “the water cooler of the 21st century”.
Just scrolling through random Twitter messages doesn’t explain its appeal. You have to try it. When you and your friends twitter, you share your individual and personal worlds with each other. It builds a sense of community that is fun, useful and important to the rest of us.
2. A Few Examples of Twitter Messages
When you check in, Twitter asks “What are you doing?” and waits for your answer. Some Twitter updates are trivial, but many are curious, interesting and downright amazing. Here are a few:
@coachmark swing harder u r older now HAPPY BIRTHDAY enjoy dont worry they have the fire under control
Mumbai terrorists are asking Hotel Reception for room #s of American citizens and holding them hostage on one floor
Arrested with no probable cause – Wrongful Arrest case in California. Seeking representation.
2/19- â€œHave A Heart, Safe a Lifeâ€ Benefit Concert. Rock & Roll Hotel. http://www.dcvalentine.net/ . 8pm.Live Music/Performances/A
3. How Twitter Got Started
Twitter began in March, 2006 in San Francisco, as a project of Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams while they worked for the podcasting company Odeo. It was initially used for their inter-office communications. In April 2007, Twitter, Inc, already popular and growing fast, was spun off as a separate company. Evan Williams is now CEO. Twitter has made no money for the owners, and is supported by venture capital investments. In July, 2008, Twitter acquired an Internet start-up, Summize, and its search engine for searching twitter messages. In 2008, Twitter turned down a $500 million takeover offer from another social site, Facebook.Twitter is now a high-profile website and handles millions of messages every day from 6 million members.
4. How to Join the Twitter Social Network
Just like most social media, you can lurk on Twitter, browsing the tweets and the tweeters. When you are ready to join the swim, set up a free account, enter your name, location, email address, website url if you have one, and a short bio for your Profile page.
Choose your user name and your password. Your user name is your screen name. It will preface all your messages, so make it likable and linkable. If you choose the user name bill, the address of your twitter profile will be http://www.twitter.com/bill
At any time you can upload a small picture of yourself called an avatar, which will precede all your messages. You can also customize the background of your Profile page with an image or logo.
Under the Settings Tab, you can set your email preferences to receive an email notice if you have a new message. You can also elect to receive Twitter on your cell phone.
5. Following and Followers, Friends on Twitter Social Network
Messages on Twitter are called updates or tweets. The list of messages from everyone is called the public_timeline, most recent updates first.
The public timeline is so busy that you are likely to miss updates from your personal friends. Fortunately, Twitter also lets you specify which Twitter users you want to follow so you can read their updates on your home page or phone. Followers are sometimes called friends. Their most recent messages appear on your home page whenever you log in. Your Following page shows the names of all the people you chose to follow. Your Followers page shows the names of all the people who are following you.
6. How to Send Messages on Twitter
On Twitter, messages are called updates or tweets. The limit of each tweet is 140 characters, including spaces. No HTML is permitted. Yes, 140 characters is short. But don’t you wish email had the same character limit as Twitter? If you canâ€™t say it in 140 characters you may need a phone.
You can include a link to any web page in your tweet, just by typing in the url. For convenience, longer url links will be automatically recoded and shortened as http:///tinyurl.com/xxxxxxx.
People can reply to you with a tweet that includes the @ sign and your user name, @bill. Twitter keeps the replies you receive for you under the @Reply link on your profile page. Replies are also shown in the timeline.
Direct messages are private messages sent from one Twitter person to another. You can only send a direct message to a person who follows you. You can read all the direct messages sent to you under the Direct Message tab in the sidebar in your home page. You can ask Twitter to notify you by email or phone when you receive a Direct Message.
Retweets are messages from someone else that you copy and resend. Begin the retweet with “RT”. The topics of retweets are a useful measurement of the pulse of public interest. The website retweetradar provides you with free real-time lists of the most popular retweets. http://www.retweetradar.com/ At this moment of writing, the subject of the most popular retweet is a custom bike stolen from Lance Armstrong. http://twitter.com/lancearmstrong/status/1212580498
Tweets are only text messages, but you can include links to pictures in your tweet. The service twitpic.com will store any picture online and provide you with a url to link to it. http://twitpic.com. Here’s the twitpic.com link to a picture of Lance Armstrong’s missing bike http://twitpic.com/1i8t1 and here’s Lance’s tweet linking to his bike picture. http://twitter.com/lancearmstrong/status/1212645744
Similar sites likeTweetcube and Twittershare let users share larger media like MP3s and videos, and link to them via Twitter.
Hash tags are used in a tweet to highlight an important word so that the subject can be followed by other people. The hash is the # symbol. You create a hash tag simply by prefixing a word in your message with a hash symbol, like this: #sandiegofire. When you set up a hash tag, it’s easier for people to follow the topic on Twitter. The website hashtage.org http://www.hashtags.org/ tallies the most popular Twitter hash tags on a real-time basis. If you follow http://twitter.com/hashtag, your own hash tag will be tallied at hashtags.org as people start using it. You can see the favorite hash tags and how often your hash tag has been used at http://www.hashtags.org
#sandiegofire 300,000 people evacuated in San Diego county now.
7. How to Search Twitter Conversations
When you want to know what everyone else on Twitter is talking about, Twitter’s excellent search engine http://search.twitter.com/ can help you with an instant real-time search of all Twitter posts . There’s no need to wait overnight for Google to index tweets.
8. How Popular Are You on Twitter?
Some people measure success on Twitter by how many followers, or friends, you collect. There is even a pyramid scheme that promises to get you an infinite number of followers on Twitter, rather like the chain mail letters of bygone times. http://www.tweetergetter.com
President Barack Obama has the most Twitter followers, with more than 282,000 people tracking his messages. Other popular twitter people are English actor Stephen Fry with 192,251 followers, and basketball star Shaquille Oâ€™Neal with 72,000 followers.
9. Privacy on Twitter, Blocking, Spam, Unfollow
It’s as easy to UN-follow someone as it is to follow them. Removing someone from your following list means that you’ll no longer receive their updates on the web or on your phone. You can stop following a person with the link that appears on their profile page. To UNfollow several people, remove people from your Following page.
By blocking someone, you deny them the ability to follow or reply to you. You can block someone by going to their profile and using actions link on their profile.
You can also keep your messages private, so that they don’t show on the public timeline. Only your followers will see them. The change to a Private account is made on your Settings page.
Twitter also has a procedure to notify the service about an inappropriate, spammy or abusive message.
10. Weird, Wacky, Wonderful Uses for Twitter
The value of a site like Twitter is that it has many uses. Twitter supplies tools that encourage developers to build new applications, using Twitter data.
- Recruit people to help. You might need a new kidney or a charitable donation.
- Keep a personal diary. Record your dieting efforts, your training progress for the marathon,or your mood.
- Alert people to a local disaster, be it fire, earthquake, robbery, traffic jam or highway potholes.
- Set up an impromptu meeting, at the office, at the coffee shop or at the neighborhood pub.
- Ask for information when you have computer problems or need a good restaurant.
- Ask for directions.
- Report the progress of a conference, seminar, or exposition.
- Ask for help during class.
- Summon people to report for duty.
- Publish your haiku.
- Introduce a new blog post.
- Propose on Twitter
@stefsull – OK for the rest of the twitter-universe [and this is a first, folks] – WILL YOU MARRY ME?
OMG – Ummmmm … I guess in front of the whole twitter-verse I’ll say – I’d be happy to spend the rest of my geek life with you.
- Complain about a defective product.
- Send compliments and encouragement.
- Recommend a good book, TV show, or anything else.
- Take notice of trends.
- Conduct an Interview via Twitter.
- Comment on the news.
- Follow people who share the same hobby or interest: cat people, sports fans, or musicians
- Clues for online and offline scavenger hunts and the sport of geocaching.
- Write a story in collaboration with your friends. Aren’t you curious how it will turn out?
- Send birthday and holiday greetings.
- Tell jokes and share quotes.
- Ask a question. “Did anyone notice this?”
- Share a good link or a funny picture.
- Mashup time-lapse Twitter chatter with a map of the United States. The New York Times made a flash video of Twitter chatter during the Super Bowl. It shows when and where each advertiser was mentioned. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/02/sports/20090202_superbowl_twitter.html
- Send a reminder notice to yourself using the site retweetme.com, which will send you a direct message at the day and time you specify.
@retweetme at 10pm; watch the daily show
@retweetme on December 24th; buy xmas presents
- Broadcast alarm codes for incidents at hospitals and schools.
- Run a health survey to identify and locate diseases.
- Like stocktwits, provide real-time stock information.
- Practice first-person journalism. Twitter had the scoop on recent news events including these:
Bushfires sweeping through Victoria, Australia
Dawn at Kinglake. Those who survived the fire are coming down the mountain.
US Airways flight crash lands in the Hudson River (Pic posted by jkrums): http://twitpic.com/135xa
- During the 2008 Mumbai attacks, eyewitnesses sent an estimated 80 tweets every five seconds as the tragedy unfolded. Twitter users on the ground helped in compiling a list of the dead and injured. In addition, users sent out vital information such as emergency phone numbers and the location of hospitals that needed blood donations.
- Charlotte North Carolina posts real-time traffic reports http://twitter.com/cltraffic, as does Bankok.http://twitter.com/bangkoktraffic and many other cities.
- An office photocopier Xerox 914 from New York advertising firm Sterling Cooper has a Twitter feed twitter.com/xerox914
Last night, the cleaners made copies of $5 bills. They haven’t figured out the green yet. Hope they don’t spend xmas in jail.
- Radio stations automatically post on Twitter the title of the song now playing. Internet Radio includes with each tweet a link to the station portal. http://twitter.com/InternetRadio
http://tinyurl.com/7bkmw4 Comedy104 – The First In Uncensored is playing Florida 6:00 PM Dec 23rd, 2008 from web
- Ichiban, a sushi restaurant in Orlando, accepts meal orders by direct message from Twitter. http://twitter.com/orlandoichiban
- Schedule tweets to be posted ahead of time with a simple Dashboard widget.
- Post a secret message anonymously, with the help of http://www.secrettweet.com/
- A festival for charity, Twestival, was organized on Twitter. On February 12, 2008, in 200 cities around the world, Twitter users physically assembled and partied to raise money for Charity:Water, a non-profit organization bringing clean water to developing nations.
- The Chandra X-Ray observatory posts its location on Twitter as it circles the globe every 20 minutes or so. Chandra is studying black holes, new stars, and galaxies. http://twitter.com/chandraxray
- Use Twitter to send real money via www.tipjoy.com http://tipjoy.com/twitter/ Once you’ve got your Twitter account info in Tipjoy, you can tweet payments from anywhere. Here’s a sample tweet to contribute to twestival:
- Every Twitter user has an RSS feed of personal updates, newest first. You can display your updates or a friend’s updates in your RSS reader. You can also display any update feed on your website, blog, MySpace, and any other community website, by using a Twitter widget or third-party application.
- The American Red Cross uses Twitter to exchange minute-to-minute information about local disasters, including statistics and directions. http://twitter.com/RedCross
- Post a help-wanted notice.
- Publish a status record. Twitter itself maintains a profile with updates on the status of Twitter Service. http://status.twitter.com/
- Use Twitter for marketing research. Offer a free sample, and link to an online survey.
- Provide customer service to customers who use Twitter.
- Contact people via their cell phone, even though you don’t know their phone number.
- RedJet Ferries on the Isle of Wight posts ferry locations every few minutes, like the following
22:49 – Red Jet 4 is leaving Southampton
23:11 – Red Jet 4 has arrived at West Cowes
- The laundry room at Olin College is hooked up to Twitter to show the status of the washers and dryers. http://twitter.com/laundryroom
Two of two washers available, zero of two dryers available. about 2 hours ago from web
- Twitter also provides a real-time RSS feed for any search query. If you are interested in Coca Cola, you can have an up-to-the-minute feed of current tweets about Coca Cola always available on your desktop feed reader. How powerful is that ?!!
- Find out who is influential on Twitter. The website webanalyticsdemystified analyzes your Twitter activity to determine how important you are on Twitter. At the moment, Guy Kawasaki, the online magazine editor, is number one. http://twitter.com/guykawasaki
- Incorporate Twitter into your home automation system. To turn on the house lights, send a tweet to flip the switch by remote control.
- Sell something. Offer a discount for Twitter users.
- Tweetajob, offers job seekers real-time updates about new job openings. http://twitter.com/tweetajob
SAN FRAN | Financial Svcs Co | Looking for series 7,63 keen on finance career, 60k+Bon- 5yrs exp | http://tinyurl.com/bz7uf3 | @susan_leigh
- Quit smoking. The qwitter.com site uses Twitter to help you get clean. http://twitter.com/iquit
Hey Qwitters! CNN wants to hear how you did it. Email Housecall@CNN.com and tell them Qwitter sent you!
- Show Twitter updates on a television broadcast. At CNN Rick Sanchez and Don Lemon prominently featured updates from Twitter followers on the screen during their broadcasts.
- Track packages shipped via FedEx and UPS and get status updates on Twitter, with the help of tracking site TrackThis http://twitter.com/TrackThis
- Create your home protection service with a video camera and motion-sensing software on a PC. The software tweets if it detects movement in the house.
- Keep in touch with your fans the way many stars and celebrities do. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore use Twitter to communicate with fans. http://twitter.com/mrskutcher
Love this RT @aplusk Bruce willis is taking questions for the next 5 min http://twitpic.com/1h8wo
- 140 health care uses for Twitter courtesy of Phil Baumann http://philbaumann.com/2009/01/16/140-health-care-uses-for-twitter/
- Keep in touch with the voters during an election as Barack O’Bama did. http://twitter.com/BarackObama
Asking for your vote today. For polling location info visit http://VoteForChange.com or call 877-874-6226. Make sure everyone votes!
- More weird, wacky, wonderful uses for Twitter are being discovered every minute. Happy tweeting.