Twittering Away

Sorry for the long delay between blog posts. Between project work, vacation and being sick I just haven’t had the time to dedicate to writing a new post. But that changes now.

Since my last post I’ve starting using Twitter. Click the Twitter link to the right to see my Twitter page and who I’m following. Some of you may say why or even huh? For those who haven’t heard of or used Twitter – Twitter is basically a social networking experiment gone haywire. When you use Twitter, you post (aka “tweet”) short blurbs about what you are doing, thinking, watching, working on, or might have a question about. The blurbs of text can only be 140 characters long so write concisely. Other Twitter users that are “following” you will probably respond to your question, that is if you have followers.

Yea, OK. So what’s the point? Who cares what I’m making for dinner?

The real value to Twitter is it’s immediateness. It’s like IRC on steroids. I could post a question to the SalesForce.com developer boards and will likely get an answer back in the next day or so. However, using Twitter is a great alternative for a quick question or even just an FYI to other SalesForce.com administrators/developers. More than likely I’ll get a response within a few minutes especially if I tag it correctly.

Hash tags (#) are a way of tagging Tweets with a specific topic name for easy searching. Any tweet that has #SalesForce in it can be easily tracked by searching for this tag (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23salesforce). If you had a question about something SalesForce.com related, you could pose it to the Twitter community by adding the #SalesForce tag to your tweet. Anyone else monitoring #SalesForce related tweets would see that and hopefully respond. Be sure to check out HashTags.org as well. This site tracks all of the realtime tags in use by Twitter users.

Another key to successfully using Twitter is to Follow other Twitter users that you want to follow you. Generally you will find that if you Follow another Twitter user they will follow you back. So, start by searching for #SaleForce.com or SalesForce in Twitter to see who else is tweeting about SalesForce (or any other topic you’re interested in) and then Follow them.

David Pogue’s video on Twitter (below) is a cute way of explaining the Twitter, though keep in mind that David has thousands of followers (people who want to read every single thing he “tweets”). We’re not going to get that lucky, but by using hash tags there is a way to target our tweets and questions to the right audience. Give it a try.

What I did find unusual, is that twitter.com/php was suspended. Up until recently, if you sent a tweet with @PHP and the name of a PHP Function it would return back to you the definition. I just went over to twitter.com/php and saw the standard “Account Suspended due to Strange Activity” message. That’s a real shame.

Oh, and if you’re interested in what beer I’m drinking when I’m not sick, follow me at twitter.com/goodbeerdrinker.

For some very cool stats on Twitter’s use during the Superbowl visit http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/02/sports/20090202_superbowl_twitter.html?scp=1&sq=superbowl%20twitter&st=cse

Go ahead and give this Twitter thing a try. It’s addicting!