Why I Love Twitter

twitter-bird-2 I have been wanting to write this post for weeks. Its finally done and I'm so excited to share it with you!

I first joined Twitter about a year and a half ago, and like many people, I just didn't get it. Then the whole Twitter craze took off so I decided to give it another try. And now, I love it! I half about half as many friends on Twitter than I do on Facebook, of which about 95% are strangers, yet these days, I find myself going to Twitter more than Facebook! How crazy is that?! Let me tell you why... Twitter has something for everyone. The trick is to know what your interests are, then go and find people who share similar passions! For me, its all about running, fitness and healthy living, blogging and of course, my San Francisco Giants. I've been lucky enough to find some really cool people on Twitter (my "tweeps") and have a lot of interesting conversations. In 140 characters or less.

Twitter Talk Twitter is an online social networking site that asks one simple question, "What are you doing?" The catch is, you can only write posts in 140 characters or less. Its also called "micro-blogging." All you're doing is saying what's on your mind. That's it. Simple right? Well, only if you understand Twitter "talk."

For example, if you want to write to someone (you don't even have to be "friends" with them), all you do is add a "@" in front of theiruser name. This is called a "mention" and when they look up "mentions" for their user names, they'll your tweet to them.

Or how about "RT" which means "retweet" which is like forwarding an email.

And if you want to send a "DM" aka "direct (private) message", the person needs to be mutually "following" you.

Other tips are: - use a hashtag (#) if you want a word to come up in searches - if you want to tweet a URL or photo, you need to use third party applications like www.tinyurl.com or TwitPic, which will shorten links to stay within 140 characters

My Tweeps Just a few of the cool people I follow are: #SFGiants fans (or baseball tweeps in general): @aykay_, @sfgiantsgirl, @Tina_Murphy, @willclarkfan22, , @bryceedwards, @GiantDuck, @NuschlersNews, @DanDibley (from KNBR), @str8edgeracer (CJ Wilson from the Texas Rangers), @JeremyAffeldt... #Runners (or healthy tweeps): @activenetwork, @BobHarperAnthem (yeah Bob from the Biggest Loser), @Runners_Lounge, @WomensRunning, @Lululemon, @CalifRunnerGirl, @Chicrunner, @Runnersworld (the magazine), @HellaSound (keep your tunes fresh), @madetomove

But really, everyone is on Twitter. I follow members from the GH cast, random celebs like Christina Applegate and John Cusack, and interesting foodies from Canada, Australia, everywhere - Twitter is global!

Its become my first source for news, following tweeps like @espn, @anncurry, @cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News), and @mashable -- THE number 1 source for all things relating to social media. Twitter Tools Believe it or not, www.twitter.com is actually not the best tool to use Twitter. There's a ton of third party applications out there. These are the ones I've tried and like the best.

For desktop tweeting, I've tried Seesmic Desktop and TweetDeck. I like them both, but have found myself using TweetDeck more often. I like the four column view where I can see All Friends, Mentions, DM's and also tweets that I've marked as favorites. A lot of tweople I follow posts interesting articles to read so I mark them as "favorites", then go back later, when I have more time, to read all the great information that was shared.

However, I recently discovered HootSuite which is quickly trumping TweetDeck as my most favorite desktop application. Actually, its really a Web application. Its created for businesses, marketers who use Twitter to promote their business, but I like it. It also has multi-columns, and allows me to create groups, so I can organize tweets by #SFGiants fans, #Runners, etc. I like that its Web-based, so I don't need to install another client and the best part is that its free. (All the others are too). HootSuite also allows you to track stats on tweets, but I don't really use that stuff. Like I said, its designed for professional tweeters.

As for iPhone apps, there's a lot of them out there and I think I've tried them all. Really I have. The paid ones too. My favorite one is Tweetie. Its simple, clean and supports all of Twitter's capabilities (RT, pic uploader, etc). @Mashable also recommends it as the best Twitter iPhone app out there.

I also keep a backup app in case something goes down at Tweetie. I used to have the TweetDeck iPhone app, but it kept having too many dysfunctions so I removed it and went back to Twitterific Pro as my backup. Its color-coded, makes a tweeting noise whenever I sync and supports all the full Twitter capabilities as well.

Actually, I think in terms of functionality, Twitterlator Pro is the best one out there, but (and this will sound funny to many of you), its too complicated for me. It supports every possible feature (video included) and its too much for me to use. I like simplicity.

TweetUp A "TweetUp" is like a meet up. Like I mentioned, I don't know 95% of the people I converse with on Twitter personally, so this past weekend, I had my very first "tweet up!" I met @sfgiantsgirl at the Giants vs Phillie's game over the weekend! It was so much fun! She reminds me of myself as a crazy Giants fan about 8 years ago, so when we figured out we'd be at the same game, we decided to meet in person. And I'm so glad we did! It was fun!

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My friend T was with me. T doesn't twitter and found the whole thing quite fascinating. LOL.

I guess meeting up with a stranger you met on the Internet does sound a bit dangerous, but not everyone is on the Internet is crazy. Don't let a few whackos ruin the Internet for you. There are a lot of cool, normal people out there who you'll find you have a lot in common with. That's the best part, you don't have to be BFF's with your tweople. You just converse by Twitter - thats it. You will find tweeps who have a lot of knowledge about something you're interested in that they can share with you, and in turn, you may be that source of truth to someone else. Its all about just having simple conversations.

Of course, there are nutso's out there so just be cautious and use common sense in who you converse with. Block the spammers.

So tell me, what are you doing?

Follow me @njnakamura

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