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What's Twitter?

Julie Bielenberg is a Denver-based writer who served as managing editor for a regional home and lifestyle publication before starting Tweeter Communications, her editorial services boutique. With a BA in journalism from the University of...

Why should I use Twitter?

Twitter is all the rage. From politicians to celebrities, CEOs to everyday folk, it seems like everyone is tweeting away. But how do people communicate on this new social media platform -- and about what? Here are the basics to help you understand the Twitter phenomenon and how to get involved!

Twitter

What is Twitter?

The idea of Twitter started back in the spring of 2006 as a side project of a private start-up company. Three years later, the service is available throughout the world. The purpose of Twitter is to allow individuals to post messages of up to 140 characters that instantly upload to the site at twitter.com.

can i personalize it?

The Twitter experience is customizable. You can set your own security parameters for your Twitter account, choosing to block certain groups or individuals from reading your posts. You can choose from thousands of categories, themes, organizations and people to follow on Twitter. You make your own home page and choose the Twitter feeds you receive.

What does a Twitter post look like?

Twitter posts (or "tweets") are intended to be short, usually just two to three sentences max. So many different demographics use this free service that messages vary vastly from one individual to the next. Below are some examples of posts you might find:

Jon Sherman is a news anchor for a local television station
Jon's Twitter message: Check out KTEW channel 4 tonight for the latest on the new penguin babies at the zoo.

Jessica Marin is a mother of three boys
Jessica's Twitter message: The boys and I are going to the water park today to take advantage of this amazing weather. Look for photos soon.

David Lang is a celebrity working on a movie in Hollywood
David's Twitter message: The heat was on today as we filmed the ending of Heat Stroke Part III. Look for shots of me and the rest of the cast at www.thiswebsite.com.

How often do I update Twitter?

The beauty of Twitter is that you can update whenever you please. Some people might Twitter 10 to 12 times a day, while others might find one Twitter message a week satisfactory. It's your information you are putting out there, so whatever works for you is what people will have access to via the site.

You can update your Twitter messages from a phone, too, so you can Twitter while waiting in line at the supermarket, sitting on the train or lying on the couch. Its flexibility is one of the perks that lead to the high usage.

Twitter: The next great online dating site?

Can I put images on Twitter?

Definitely! You can use an application named TwitPic (one of several such options) to upload pictures to accompany your Twitter messages. Here, too, you can use your cell phone to share pictures with people.

Ashton Kutcher Twitter

Who's using Twitter?

Everyone! The free service is extremely popular, largely due to its ease and convenience. People can set up their Twitter accounts to send updates from people and companies they follow directly to their cell phones.

If you were to tune into Ryan Seacrest's radio show or view the nightly E! news show, you would hear the hosts quoting items from celebrity Twitter posts. Ashton Kutcher might tweet about his latest project (or show off his wife), Lindsay Lohan may comment on tabloid rumors, Lance Armstrong could Twitter about training for a bicycle race -- you name it, there is a Twitter about it.

These Twitter posts also serve as direct messages from the sources, providing an excellent means for celebrities to address rumors, promote projects or voice their opinions instantly. (Twitter's verification feature makes it easy to be sure you're getting such info from the true source and not a scammer.)

Are you ready to Twitter?

If Twitter sounds like fun and you would like to give it a try, log on to twitter.com and sign up for a free account. It takes only minutes to create a profile. Before long, you'll be tweeting along with the masses.

You can also begin your search for people to follow on Twitter -- just use the "find people" tab. You might find relatives, favorite politicians or your children's teachers tweeting away already. Customize your home Twitter page to make it more user-friendly, appealing and reflective of your identity.

So what are you doing, thinking, creating, selling or seeking? Tweet, tweet!

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