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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Twitter and Twitter Parties: First in a Series

Have you ever been to a twitter party?
Do you wonder what all the fuss is about?
What IS a twitter party and why would anyone "go"?
What is twitter?
Why do I care?

Here's a crash course, let's call it, Twitter 101: The Basics.
(This is going to be a series of three posts. If you are already familiar with twitter, skip the first and second posts in the series and bear with me until day three when we will jump to the party info.)

What is twitter? Where is twitter? Twitter is a social media service for people to interact with each other online. Twitter users are all over the world.

What is a tweet? A tweet is a comment on twitter. When you tweet, you can type a message of up to 140 characters. You hit enter and that tweet is available for everyone on the network to read.

Who uses twitter? Why do people tweet
? There are many reasons for people to use twitter ranging from the casual user, "I'm going to eat some cereal now" to sophisticated customer service of major corporations.

A market research firm, Pear Analytics, looked at tweets over a specific period in 2009 and came up with six categories of tweets:

1. Pointless Babble - 41%
2. Conversational - 38%
3. Pass-along Value - 9%
4. News - 4%
5. Spam - 4%

The conversational portion relates to people keeping in touch with their friends and family. In twitter, you "follow" other twitter users. Their tweets will show up on your main twitter screen. So if you "follow" all your friends, you can tweet, "I'm going to Applebee's tonight at 8:00, come join me." Your friends will see that and know when and where to meet you. Or you can solicit advice, "I'm headed to the movies tonight - any recommendations for a good comedy?" In addition to conversation with friends and family, you can also follow celebrities. Many celebrities use twitter as a way to stay in touch with their fans. Fans get a "backstage" look into the life of their favorite stars. And it's not just Ashton Kucher, you can follow news personalities like Greta Van Susteren.

If you are loyal to a particular brand or product, you can follow the company on twitter and find out about special sales and promotions. If you have customer service issues, you can often resolve it with a representative communicating with you on twitter.

Depending on who you follow you also get immediate updates on world news. Often someone in a country experiencing an earthquake, will tweet and then it passes from group to group. Twitter can be like the streaming news tickers at the bottom of your television screen.

There are always those who abuse any system and seem to have no purpose other than to annoy the rest of us and that's the 4% of spam.

How do I learn more about twitter? The best way to learn is to jump in! Open an account - it's free and easy - and start tweeting!

Coming up: How to start tweeting!

Last but not least: Twitter parties!


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