This week, I had the opportunity to try out a new emergent technology call Twitter. To get started I had to open up a new twitter account by logging in to twitter.com. The sign-up procedures were very user-friendly and easy. The best part about this process was that I could use my personal email as my twitter email, which meant I did not have to open up a new email account. Setting up a username and password was easy also, because Twitter will check to see if the name was available for use and if it was already being used, then Twitter gives you an alternative suggestion for your username or password if your choices are being used. My choice was being used, so I had the opportunity to pick one of Twitter’s alternative username for my Twitter account.
With my new Twitter account established, I began setting up my Twitter homepage. With another Twitter suggestion, I used my real name on my profile and home page. In addition, adding my photo was easy, but where I had problem was with the default 140 characters limit. Because of the character limit; unfortunately, I had to shorten my bio to include only, my full name without spaces, education, business affiliations, current university program, and my blog page URL. The 140 characters limit were a huge problem for me, because I like writing in complete sentences and with Twitter it seem as if I was using improper grammar mechanics in writing my tweets, but as I got familiar with the process I quickly adapted to the character limits. As you began to make tweets, there is a counter that allows you to see the number of characters you are using as you type, this was a useful feature as well, because I could see the word count and adjust my tweets accordingly.
At first the only people who I followed was my classmates, because their information was sent to me via email which was really awesome. This made the process of searching for them rather easy. As I played around with the home, @connect, and #discover tabs, I was able to find people and organization of interest to follow. What made the process of finding someone to follow was there was an enormous amount of choices, people, entertainment, and professional organization. Under the Who to Follow link, I was able to pick and choose as many celebs, news organizations, as well as professional organization that fit my need. Being an amateur user of Twitter, I did not know that the search does not filter by specific proper names, you have to look through several proper names manually before you can find who you are looking for.
This was somewhat a difficult process for entries of people who do not have photos, so one of the points that was given to me by my 14-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son was to make sure that a blue check mark was in front of the celeb’s name or organization as a way of knowing that the names was verified. To demonstrate the process of searching for celebs, I searched for Justin Timberlake in the Twitter site search bar and a several people with the same name as Justin Timberlake appeared. But I wanted the R&B and Pop Music Artist Justin Timberlake. His name appeared first with a picture of himself along with the blue check mark and I clicked to follow him and a blue button appeared and the person was automatically added to my following link.
As i continued to search, the process got even easier and I was able to follow other celebs and organization besides Justin Timberlake, such as: the Ellen Show, The Whitehouse, the Celtics, and Anderson Cooper; AC360 TV show. Using the search bar, I was able to find two relatives to follow as well. Getting a Twitter account was so easy that I decided that I wanted to learn as much as I could about Twitter as a social networking and multimedia tool, so I took a Twitter training using Lynda.com “Twitter Essential Training'” with Presenter, Maria Langer.
After the training, I was able to use all the features that I learned with the Lynda.com training to make better tweets, retweets, direct messages, replies to tweets and the proper etiquette to use when tweeting. Overall, as a new user the feature that I like in Twitter, which I liked better than Facebook was the setting that allows you to only see the tweets of the person you are following, and your followers and not everyone’s tweets that you don’t know. Also, your page is not flooded with unwanted ads and invites. I also liked the features found in the Designs link, which was the themes and background choices. The best part about the design link was changing the appearance of my Twitter page. You can change the look of your page as often as you want. Another feature that I was able to use better was the reply procedures using the @username to give the originator of the tweet credit.
Proceeding in the learning module of this application was very easy, and user-friendly. It is my opinion, that Twitter is a very good tool for social networking and communicating for audience of all ages and in a safe reliable environment. I also feel that it is a tool that I would use in my teaching environment with students as a communication tool and a tool to search for various information, anywhere in the world fast and in real-time. I am glad that I have a Twitter account, I would use this tool to network with different experts in education and to keep up with the latest trends in teaching and technology.
I am cautious when it comes to my personal creations, so the only draw back that I found, and it is just my personal feeling is that the government will have permanent access to all tweets forever, because they will be archived in the Library of Congress. I was a little apprehensive with this possibility, because I feel that the government will receive individuals tweets without the written consent of the originators.
Despite this drawback, Twitter is an excellent Web 2.0 Tool and I am certainly going to continue to use it in both my personal and professional life. I just have to remember to tweet only what I which the world to know and not my private, personal business. Good tweeting etiquette is an important concept to adhere to, because everyone in the world has the ability to see and read my tweets. Furthermore, I also feel that Twitter has the best program interface for first-time users to experience, because the features are very simply to use and the application have the ability to communicate with a variety of other applications across a wide range of a genres.