Last time out I noted that I was contemplating joining the Twitterverse, and perhaps even Tweeting–on a limited basis, of course. I’ve always believed, as Polonius expressed so eloquently to Hamlet’s mom, that brevity is indeed the soul of wit, something that to me applies not to the length of each Tweet–which Twitter already restricts to a scant 140 characters–but to the number of Tweets issued on a given day as well.
But before I get around to tossing out a Tweet or three, I want to make a case for why I feel Twitter is worthy of your attention in the first place, and–should you find yourself in agreement with me–how to go about getting your Tweet wet with Twitter on your Mac.
I’ve been part of the Twitterverse for only the last couple of weeks, but my brief experience has already shown that if one limits time spent with the service, and follows the appropriate people (the @s)/or topics (the #s), value can indeed be gleaned from this particular flavor of social media.
One long-standing criticism of social media services like Twitter and Facebook–and I have certainly voiced this myself–is that the information put forth seems at best trivial and at worst hurtful, or just plain mean. So I am happy to report that I have, in a fairly brief period of time, identified not less than a baker’s dozen individuals who, at least in my humble opinion, contribute information of indispensable value to the Twitterverse.
To illustrate, those whom I’ve elected to follow have graciously provided the following insights, images, info, and indisputably insightful non-sequiturs over the course of the past few days:
- Why are all the “House of Cards” journalists so bad at journalism?
Andrew Kaczynski | @BuzzFeedAndrew | Reporter for @BuzzFeed Politics
- ‘Chuffed’ was used in the last moments of Liam Neeson’s interview & last scene of Downton on the same evening. Coincidence for a Brit term!
- ‘Mongrel’ spiking at http://m-w.com after Ted Nugent referred to @BarackObama as a “subhuman mongrel”
- TGIF is correctly pronounced TEE-JIFF. You’re welcome.
Peter Sokolowski | @PeterSokolowski | Lexicographer, Merriam-Webster
- John Glenn and fellow Mercury astronauts clad in “Lawrence of Arabia” garb during 1960 desert training exercise
- A rejected design for the Washington Monument
- Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, during 1st public demonstration in Manhattan, 1947
- Lincoln’s funeral procession in downtown NYC, with a 6-year old Teddy Roosevelt watching from a third-story window at upper left
Michael Beschloss | @BeschlossDC | Presidential Historian
- The “eat” of battle – how the world’s armies get fed (skip to the pix)
- Is That Sausage Worth This? (Spoiler: gross.)
Mark Bittman | @bittman | Food writer for NY Times; author of How to Cook Everything
- Insomnia. A simultaneously useful and destructive state.
- I’ve just installed WhatsApp and hate myself as a result.
Emily Bell | @emilybell | Director of Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia
- Over the past two weeks, Putin’s face has shown as great a range of expressions as Lenin’s (in his current condition).
- Olympic opening and closing ceremonies remind of of the influence of HDTV. Nothing this ambitious would have been done in analog TV days.
- Warning to non-tech media: I’m THIS close to using my authority to force you all to stop using the word “selfie.” Just FYI.
Andy Ihnatko | @Ihnatko | Chicago Sun-Times technology columnist and Internationally Beloved Industry Figure™
- “The Lego Movie” is still number one at the box office. How dare they make a film about plastic people and not call me!
Joan Rivers | @Joan_Rivers | A simple girl with a dream…
- 11 Historical Uses for Invisible Ink
- What Spitting Cobras Are Actually Aiming For
Mental Floss | @mental_floss | Amazing facts from the good people at mental_floss magazine
Sure beats hateful Tweets about gay athletes, or a FaceBook posting featuring pics of what your niece had for breakfast. So in the event this brief taste of Twitter has whetted your appetite for more, all you need do is head over to twitter.com and create an account. You don’t have to Tweet anything yourself at the outset; besides, until you can coerce a few others to follow you, you’ll be Tweeting to an empty room, so to speak–er, Tweet, that is…
Once you’ve got your Twitter identity established, simply select a few individuals to follow, and revel in your new-found wisdom! To help get you started, I’ve taken the liberty of including the Twitter handle of each contributor noted above.
Point of clarification (#1 of 2): Twitter members are designated by the @ symbol; Twitter topics/keywords are indicated by a hashtag (#). Click on any keyword in a Tweet to see all Tweets which include that keyword; you can also search Twitter for a specific keyword; #SochiProblems has been particularly amusing as of late.
By way of example, my (and presumably everyone’s) favorite 320-lb,. ex-N.Y. Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen issues Tweets as @jaredlorenzen22; keyword #heftylefty also exists for anyone to include when they Tweet about Jared himself, or anything they deem Jared-related.
Therefore, were I to Tweet regarding Jared, I might compose something like the following:
Latest on @jaredlorenzen22: The #heftylefty suffered a broken leg in the Feb. 9 game but is on the mend. Hang in there J.Load!
So if you follow @jaredlorenzen22 you’ll get all of his Tweets; if you explore the keyword #heftylefty, you’ll discover what everyone else Tweets about regarding the “Pillsbury Throwboy.” If you’re not into sports, my sincerest apologies. Simply substitute @tim_cook and #Apple respectively for their counterparts above 😉
Point of clarification (#2 of 2): You may have noticed that, in your iDevice(s) Settings and in your Mac’s Mail, Contacts & Calendars preference pane, you are provided with the option to enter your Twitter account credentials. This simply stores your Twitter handle and password so you are able to Tweet images, Web links, etc. expeditiously; it does not provide a means for you to follow others on Twitter.
Therefore, you need to download Twitter’s app for iPhone/iPad to use Twitter on any of your iDevices. On your Mac, you can simply follow all your Twitter feeds in a browser window, or download Twitter for Mac from the App Store.
Thanks. You did it again, explaining hashtags in a way we now understand.
Boy do I look foreward to anything you write!
well, gee thanks. but for now i feel our universe is way too abuzz (or atwitter, as it were) with words spewing forth… many people so in love with the sound of their own voices and opinions. i, for one, am in need of more silence and fewer words. i only joined facebook to keep up with the doings of my nieces and nephews and to share some of my horsey pics with my horsey friends. so for now, twitter will not be on my agenda of things to join. i’ll let you know if i change my mind. thanks for sharing 🙂
To your point, Micah Zenko, the Douglas Dillon fellow with the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, just tweeted the following: “The smartest folks I know in just about every academic or policy field, don’t tweet, blog, or actively appear in the media.” 😉