TwitterYou’re probably already sick of the word Twitter. I know, I’m just about at that point too. It wasn’t long ago that I hadn’t even heard of it, but lately it seems to have exploded in popularity. I was getting sick of seeing the word “Twitter” everywhere I went, yet I really didn’t know what it was. Yesterday I decided to search around and read up on the thousands of people writing about it. In case you are unfamiliar like I was, here’s Twitter in a nutshell:

  • Twitter calls themselves a community of friends (and strangers) who answer the question, “What are you doing?”
  • You can constantly update your friends with your answer to the above mentioned question by phone, IM, or on the Web.
  • You’re given 140 characters (it’s not much) to get your message across.

With everybody answering that one simple question, “what are you doing”, it’s a lazy way to keep in touch with your friends.  It eliminates the need to call your friends to see how they are doing, or what they’re up to because they’ll have already answered that question with an informal, impersonal Twitter message.

Do you really need or want to know what everybody is doing? I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with not knowing when someone is stuck in a traffic jam, or when they’ve stopped at the grocery store. I’m sure there are also plenty of instances of TMI (too much information) that people could do without.

I think part of the explosion occurred at SXSW where hundreds of people were using Twitter and talking about it. And it seems that either people love it, or they don’t. There’s really no in-between. If you must stay connected at the hip with everybody around you, this would probably be the best way. It’s also being used for “micro-blogging” with short snippet posts (remember, only 140 characters) using SMS.

While I haven’t used it, the idea of updating my life for everyone to see isn’t really my thing. I like personal phone messages with friends and family to get updates, not text messages. Despite this, I could see some benefits to using it.

If you have a question that you don’t know the answer to, you could easily send it out to all of your friends and get multiple responses back. For example, if you’re going out for dinner and you want to know what the best Thai restaurant is in town, just ask, and then get all of your friends responses back.Another benefit might be if you’re hanging out with a group of people for a night out on the town, Twitter would be a good way to keep track of everybody and where they’re at.

If you’re not a Twitter user yet, but it sounds intriguing, Webware put together a Newbie’s Guide to Twitter so that you can get yourself caught-up with the frenzie.