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November 10, 2008

Twitter: The Scoop

For those that start using Twitter - there is no stopping. Twitter is an online application that allows users to type 140 letters (including hyperlinks - using TinyURL) describing what they are doing "right now". This has become a way to keep track of what others are doing (called "follow") and for others to follow you.

So, why would anyone want to do this?

It is a viral social networking that can be a way to connect and have a group of "followers". Before anyone ventures onto Twitter, they should determine what their online brand is and somewhat stick to that. I actively Twitter - about technology and parenting related subjects. I don't Twitter about anything too personal - because that is not associated with my brand. Twitter can help people social network with others in their same areas or across areas.  Most companies have a Twitter presence. It is also important not only "Twitter" about yourself - but link to relevant posts/articles that match your brand and respond (@) to people to converse. If you have a blog, you can have your Twitters listed on the sidebar. Twitters can also be loaded into other social networking applications, including FriendFeed. So in short, Twitter can also be used to microblog.

So then how do I get followers?

Great question - read this post by Guy Kawaski to find the answer: Looking for Mr. Goodtweet: How to Pick Up Followers on Twitter.

Once you define your brand/image and make sure you are not Twittering about anything related to you or your kids location, then "unprotect" your updates. You will get more followers that way. That is, unless you are Twittering updates from a tech conference - then it is ok to give your location away (especially if you are in a conference hall filled with people).

Can my kids use it?

No - Here is Twitter's Policy Towards Children:

"Our Policy Towards Children

The Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy at twitter dot com. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files."


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