Amit Paranjape’s Blog

What is Twitter? And why should one start using it?

Posted in Current Affairs, Information Technology by Amit Paranjape on February 28, 2009

Many of my professional and social contacts are already using Twitter, and yet many more are still not fully aware of it.  I am writing this brief article to introduce this great new medium to those who are not on board. If you are already familiar with Twitter, but are not actively using it – please, get onboard….you are missing out on a lot! If you are already a regular Twitter user, that’s great! Feel free to skip this article.

 

Just 6 months back, if someone had mentioned ‘Twitter’ outside the confines of some Silicon Valley coffee shops and offices, chances are they would have received a blank stare. Further more, many ‘techies’ who understood the concept would have dismissed it as another one of those Web 2.0 websites. How much difference 6 months can make! Today people from all walks of life are entering the ‘Twitter-o-sphere’! Twitter already has more than 6 Million users.

 

Initially, these new users start off with a few tentative steps to test the water. Like any new communication medium, there is some acclimatization (learning) curve. However, in Twitter this is typically very short. Many Celebrities, Politicians, CEOs, Authors, Business Gurus have started ‘tweeting’ (sending messages via Twitter). When geeky words and phrases such as ‘Google It’ and ‘Reboot’ enter out lexicon, that’s a clear signal of mainstream adoption of the technology. ‘Tweeting’ is almost there!

 

Almost all major news organizations (TV/Print Media/Blogs) are also leveraging this new medium. President Barack Obama used Twitter quite effectively in his election campaign; and in this week’s State of The Union Address Session, it was reported that a congressman was sending live updates of the President’s speech on Twitter.

 

Twitter is as fundamental a medium as ‘Email’. You can use it the way you want it. Unlike a social networking site, or a professional networking site – it doesn’t compartmentalize the user into a specific domain. Like email, you can use twitter for catching up with friends, for personal networking, for business connections, for marketing, for following news & sports, etc.

 

Twitter user base is growing exponentially and has started rivaling some of the most popular sites on the web.  As the number of users grows, so does the reach and the types in which it used. Whether it was the Mumbai Terror Attacks or the Hudson River emergency landing of a passenger airliner, breaking news was being actively disbursed via Twitter, before any of the conventional media. One primary reason for this popularity is Twitter’s cornerstone design of limiting message length to 140 characters (something that can be sent through a SMS protocol on cell phones). This forces the user to write brief and crisp messages, and enables readers to focus on the real topic quickly.

 

So what exactly is Twitter? And how does one start using it? Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I am simply going to point the reader to a great overview article & presentation “Why you should be on Twitter – and how best to use it” that was compiled by Navin Kabra, the founder of PuneTech. After going through this presentation, I hope that you can start ‘tweeting’ soon! My twitter id is ‘aparanjape’ – look forward to connecting with you there!

  

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6 Responses

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  1. ngkabra said, on February 28, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Actually, I would say that the learning curve for twitter is longer rather than shorter. It took me 3 to 4 months of lurking before I began seeing the potential of Twitter. And another 3/4 months before I figured out the ropes enough to be able to actually get lots of value out of it.

    Hence, I would strongly urge people to “keep at it” even if twitter seems pointless initially. My presentation, and this article should hopefully help in reducing the learning curve a bit, but sometimes, (as they say in Marathi) you cannot experience heaven through descriptions of others, you have to die before you can see it.

  2. Amit Paranjape said, on February 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Navin,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I partially agree with you on your learning curve. I think any new networking technology has a steeper learning curve in the early stages, since the number of participants/other useful data sources are limited.

    Compared to 6-9 months back, a new user signing up on Twitter is likely to find many of their existing connections on board already, as well as many useful reference content users (media/experts/etc.) This can accelerate the ‘learning’ process.

    I think the analogy of the internet is also somewhat applicable here. When we started using Mosaic/Netscape in the mid 1990s, the information available was very limited. Hence usage was limited, and the learning curve was much steeper.

    Amit

  3. Amit Paranjape said, on February 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I am providing a sample list of interesting news & information sources that I follow on Twitter. (For a complete list, look at twitter.com/aparanjape.)

    @nytimes
    @nprnews
    @McKQuarterly
    @TheOnion
    @DNA
    @Infosys
    @AMR_Research
    @Gartner_inc
    @forrester
    @cnnbrk
    @espn
    @TechCrunch
    @PuneTech
    @timoreilly
    @CNETNews
    @AltEnergyNews

  4. Abhishek said, on March 31, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    its convenient to spread the word !!

  5. […] interested in learning more about twitter – please checkout twitter.com and my brief article: What is Twitter? And why should one start using it?   Note –  The normal web links are also stored in a smaller format (to save number of characters) […]

  6. Maina said, on September 2, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    chiv chiv chimni zadawar basali. chiv chiv chimni internet war rusali.


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