Do You Get Twitter?


I am not sure I do.  I have read a lot of the information on the Twitter site and even set up a Twitter account.  There is a lot about it that seems to draw you in, but the end result seems a bit odd.  Maybe JD who reads many of my posts here will weigh in with some information on how he uses it.  I know he has been on Twitter for a while.  When I look at his Twitter page, it really seems to offer nothing for most people.  It appears to be just a list of his side of many different Twitter conversations.  For example when JD responds to a “Tweet” from someone, you only seem to see JD’s response, not the original Tweet that prompted that response.  Kind of confusing, but as I said, I am not sure I get it yet.

Another odd thing is that after I set up my Twitter account a few people I don’t know started following me.  This happened even though I have not yet even sent out one Tweet.  When I look at these people’s profiles, they are often following thousands of other Twitter users.  One was following over 15,000 people.  Does he get the tweets of all those people sent to his account?  What possible purpose could that serve?  I can’t even think of a spam reason for that, but as I said, I am not sure I get it yet.

I have discovered that you can set up Twitter to work with your cell phone and text messaging also.  Intriguing, but I am not sure I get that either.  I suppose if I really wanted to know what someone was doing and that someone was a regular Tweeter, it would be easiest to get a text message of their Tweets, rather than have to log on via my laptop to see what they were up to.  I guess this makes sense when following a few of your closest friends or family members, but once you started following more that 10 or 12 people, wouldn’t it get out of hand?  Confusing, but at least I am now quite positive I don’t get it yet.

When I tried to explain Twitter to someone who hardly even uses a computer, they asked: “Is Twitter just the latest thing for kids with too much time on their hands, another MySpace?”  I can deduce enough from my research to know that is not the case.  Just too many very busy people, like JD, use it for me to believe it does not have some very helpful purpose.

So, if you use Twitter, how do you use it?  How many people do you follow?  Do you follow more than just your friends?  Is there a beneficial business or blogging aspect to Twitter?  If you have followers of your own, what sorts of Tweets do you put up for them?  I keep looking at Twitter hoping to finally have an “ah ha” moment.  So far this moment has eluded me.

Do you Twitter… Can you help this old bird understand?

A day later and I find this video that unintentionally seems to say that Twitter is for people with too much free time on their hands!


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Will Sig
1 Pablo

Will, you have asked all the questions that I have concerning Twitter. I have NO idea on how to use it to benefit my blog or to network with people. I hardly have any friends that use it, I am brand new to the Twitter site. Hopefully we can figure it out 🙂

Pablos last blog post..Architecture?


2 Will

Hi Pablo – I have been a Twitter member for a while. When I first signed up, I tried to understand it, but then left it alone for a few months. Not because the actual process of using the service was hard, but because I did not really get the point of it. It seemed that to communicate with people you know, email or IM did the job. Twitter seemed like sending IM out to whole world. I kept asking “why”. I suppose if you were a very famous person and wanted your fans to know what you were up to,it would help streamline the process.

One of the reasons I want to finally understand Twitter is that I do know a few people that use it… although they don’t post that often and when they do the updates are usually something like: “Going to the grocery store now”, or “off to join the holiday traffic jam at the mall”.

I do see that by searching Twitter for random people, a lot of Twitter members are bloggers or on-line business people. Their frequent updates are sort of inane, though. BUT they often have hundreds of followers who get those updates.

Yes hopefully some experienced Twitter users will post here with some advice because I still don’t understand Twitter’s purpose. But with it being so popular, I keep thinking the problem is with my lack of understanding, not with the Twitter service.

on edit: maybe if Twitter had a way for you to see the “tweets” of people geographically close to you, that would be a way to make local friends. The one thing about the online world that is most frustrating to me is that although I can make friends with people with similar interests, etc., they often live hundreds or thousands of miles away and realistically I will never meet them.


3 John Hunter

I agree with the sentiment that it is mainly a new way to waste time. But lots of people seem to like it, which is fine. I just don’t see any benefit for myself.

John Hunters last blog post..Looking at the Chicago School of Economics


4 Claire

Well I am not sure I am using twitter correctly but here is how I use it.
I use twitterfeed to update twitter with my latest blog posts, not the most immediate way of updating, but good if your away from the computer.I find that people do click the link that it provides and read that post.

Twitter also updates facebook with my latest twitter, so I hardly ever log on there. I mainly use facebook for friends/family, so they like to see what I am up to. Well most of the time.. That was particularly handy when I was travelling around the USA in September.

I use twitpic to post latest doodles and photographs, sometimes with a link to a blog post, sometimes not.

I follow a whole feast of twitterers, from blog friends like JD to local museums, news sites and few celebrities.

I basically see twitter as a mini/micro blog and you soon get use to tuning about the twitters that don’t interest you.

Finding local twitterers

Claires last blog post..Merry whatever round up


5 Claire

Tuning ‘out’ not ‘about’ bloody typos 🙂

If I have further confused you about twitter, I apologise 🙂

Claires last blog post..Merry whatever round up


6 Jaffer

Hi Will ! Your friend JD sent me hear via Twitter. See ? It’s sending you traffic already !

The way Twitter wants you to work is stay within the boundaries of your homepage, ie
It is from here only that you need to monitor your friends activities.

You will see JD’s conversation with other people you follow and their replies to JD therefore you will see complete conversations.
You will not how ever see from your home page, JD’s replies to other people you do not follow. And you don’t need to ! Unless you want to stalk JD and add all his friends !

Twitter has replaced my IM such as MSN and Yahoo soley because most of my online friends have adopted Twitter.
Conversations on Twitter are for all to see. I like it that way because being public you are on your guard, and will not write anything which you may regret later. And if you do, you can simply delete it !

I have had good friendships ruined by private IM and e-mailing. This has not been my case on Twitter thus far but infact I have strengtened my friendship with other bloggers.

In short, I use Twitter as a group chat. I now have a large circle of friends who also know one another and if one picks up a topic like yesterday we were talking about “Bewitched” and “Leave it To Beaver”, it can be a ton of fun.

For your idea, here is what my twitter home page looks like

Good Luck !


7 Linda Prout

I am not a twitter user but strangely I received this link for a description in my email just after you posted this. It seemed a useful description with real examples, which lead me to realize I am unlikely to ever be a twitter user (a twitterer?).
I am not affiliated with this link in any way.


8 Will

Thanks Claire – That does help a bit. And thanks for the links. I see one of those sites is run by Darren Rowse. It’s funny as he was the first or second person to, out of the blue, start following me when I signed up for Twitter. I wondered why as I have only had a few email contacts with him over the past couple of years and could not figure out why he would add me. Then I looked at his profile and saw that he follows 8,851 people and almost 25,000 people follow him. Yikes! I suppose there is a lot of overlap of his followers and the folks he follows so I wonder how he manages to read all their “tweets”?


9 Will

Thanks for all that, Jaffer! I think I will start following you and Claire. Since I already follow JD I will see all sides of your tweets and am thinking that eavesdropping like that might be the best way to see Twitter in action.


10 Will

It is odd, Linda, that you got that link out of the blue. Here is an interesting post about Twitter etiquette and what might be seen as Twitter spam.


11 Atniz

I use to get addicted with Twitter but not now. You know the big wave like. The interest on Twitter is the same. It was peak at the beginning and slowly fade away. The most important thing is to get good friends from there. Most of the twitter users are bloggers and always looking for extra traffic by posting new links and affiliate links. This spoils the environment. I just wish somewhere no ads, no affiliates, only pure friends sharing things. But, I’m sure we cannot find something like that nowadays.


12 Bob

I signed up too, and even after reading what it is all about, I’m not quite sure, have read some of the comments here and still in the dark, I guess it is something you have to spend time learning and using to get it down, at the end of the day I think I have better things to do then twitter constantly people about my life which seems like a lot of waste of time, at least it’s cheaper then long distance, but I’m old school that way.

Bobs last blog post..Last Aurora of 2008 and The Moon, Jupiter, Mercury Conjunction


13 Anna

Hey Will you raise intresting questions all the time, and this one happens to me all the time, and not just on the Twitter, but blogCatalog, or facebook, ‘a few people I don’t know started following me’.

I don’t understand Twitter myself, but on the end I find all these networks waste of time, so I am sticking with my blog, otherwise, I will be true blog-holic.

Happy New Year Will! All the best to you and your family.

Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..My Photography Year 2008 in Review


14 james

I looked at Twitter and realized that it was not for me. then I realized the value may be not how I see twitter, but how others see it. I do twitter a bit, but I have not seen the value in it, or not yet.


15 wilson

Well, Will. I hardly login to my Twitter account, although I have hundreds of Followers…

By the way, would you mind to tell me your Twitter ID?

wilsons last blog post..Happy New Year 2009!


16 Will

I know, Wilson, it is odd how the followers build up. I got one yesterday from “make money online”. When I went to Twitter today to look at their profile, the account had been suspended. I am thinking there is a spam aspect to it also. My ID is WillTaft. I am not a big believer in anonymity on the web!


17 Will

Well the jury is still out for me, but I am starting to understand it a lot better. I still feel a bit odd about posting such small tidbits of info that seem to have little purpose.

The other thing that is bothering me more and more is that several people who I don’t know, who I don’t think i have any friends in common with, and who appear to not be interested in or related to any of my interests, have stated following me. When I look at their profile, they are following thousands of people. I still think there must be some spammy aspect to Twitter I don’t understand yet. Anyone can follow you, no approval needed, but if you follow thousands of people like some do, what could possibly be the reason for that? They can’t even begin to read the tweets of all those people.

If anyone in the know is still following this comment thread, can you shed light on what the purpose of these folks following thousand of strangers is? Thanks!


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