What is a Twitter, Anyway?

Your Guide to Twitter

If you’re a technical neophyte, new to social media, new to the internet as a whole, or a few generations behind in consumer electronics, like myself, then you may have recently found yourself asking some or all of the following questions:

  • Who said that?
  • What are those symbols?
  • How does Twitter work, anyway?
  • And finally, what’s a retweet anyhow?

I’ll attempt to answer some of these questions for you now but in order to find out, we’ll have to hit the streets. But not just any streets, the information superhighway.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC), now nearly abandoned, was once a thriving communications channel. One such that the builders of the internet would have used to communicate. I’ll now direct your attention to an actual modern user of IRC and our subject at present, known only to her contemporaries as <@j_n>. <@j_n> is an internet veteran, or interneteran, and was kind enough to answer to our confused call for help.

What follows is a transcript of what just happened:

<@j_n> twitter is pretty straightforward. you can make posts, reply to posts, and re-post other people’s posts. privacy is account level, all yr posts are either public or avalable to a single list of other twitter users. instead of threads or channels there are hashtags (#whatever) that filter content by topic
<@j_n> also, users can “follow” other users, this is just subs
<@j_n> so they show up on yr main page
<@j_n> oh & the posts can be a max of 140 characters, b/c it was designed to work w sms

And there you have it, Twitter is fantastically intuitive. To read more about the Twitter visit here: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter.

Next, I’ll continue endeavoring to answer current and pressing questions like, who liked that? What is a wall? How do I like™ something? And finally, what is a Facebook, anyway?


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