a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Twitter: it’s not so simple

Posted on the March 7th, 2008

No, I am not saying this keeping-in-touch technology isn’t simple to use, because it is. I’m referring to more substantive uses of the mini-blogging service that may surprise you, just as they did me.

For example, last October the Los Angeles Fire Department made use of Twittering while fighting California’s wildfires. Also, the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering uses Twitter to pass along info to its students. And U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards all use the service. This all according to Wikipedia. (And see here for a video of a University of Texas prof describing how he uses Twitter with his students — “Teaching With Twitter”, Professor David Parry).

But what is Twitter exactly?

It’s an ultra-streamlined messaging service. Each message is limited to 140 characters only, but you can send that message simultaneously to as many people as you like (from your cell phone or computer). And the service itself is free.

Just last month, an article in The New York Times described Twitter’s popularity (“If You Can’t Let Go, Twitter”
by Michelle Slatalla, Feb 4, 2008):

Twitter’s popularity is growing steadily (nearly 1.2 million users visited Twitter.com in December, a 223 percent increase over the same month in the previous year, according to comScore Inc., which measures Internet traffic). But it still has a much smaller following than top social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Two more places to go for more info: One is a short, but highly informative, video interview with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone — done last August by Intruders.tv. And for a sense of why the average Twitterer, perhaps, enjoys the service, see this article in Wired last June (“Clive Thompson on How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense,” June 26, 2007)

And to find out in two minutes how to use Twitter, watch this video below, just posted this week on YouTube, by commoncraft.com.

Reader Comments (0) Comments Off on Twitter: it’s not so simple