#7 What is Twitter?

Have you heard people talking about Twitter? Wonder what a “tweet” is? Well, get ready for some fun!

What is Twitter?

First, watch ‘Twitter in Plain English’:

Twitter allows users to post 140-character updates, answering the question: “What are you doing?” These posts are shared via the web to either the world or to the users’ friends. Users can access Twitter messages—called “Tweets”—via the Web, via an RSS feed, and via text on their cellular phones or any number of third party apps. Accessing a Twitter user, one might find an update on his or her day, a direct message to another Twitterer, or a bit of wit and wisdom.

One of the most common reasons many people don’t want to use Twitter is “I have nothing to say.” The truth is, you don’t have to say anything to get the most out of Twitter.

Twitter is a fantastic source of valuable information. Messages from users you choose to follow will show up on your home page for you to read. It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.

You Don’t Have to Tweet Anything To Benefit

If you remember one thing about Twitter, it should be this: reading Tweets and discovering new information whenever you check in on your Twitter timeline is where you’ll find the most value on Twitter. Some people find it useful to contribute their own Tweets, but the real magic of Twitter lies in discovering the information that matters to you.

Check out this great New York Times article, Getting the most out of Twitter : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/technology/04basics.html?_r=0

You can see real benefits from Twitter without tweeting anything yourself. For example you can use Twitter to follow what’s happening at a conference, even if you aren’t there or converse with experts in your via as part of a scheduled Twitter chat.  Two of the best for learning pros are #lrnchat and #chat2lrn. You can even tweet someone a coffee! I’m @tmiket if you want to try THAT out! 😎

If you’re interested in more details, this Twitter guide from Mashable  is a great resource to add to your bookmarks. If you’re curious about the mechanics of who sees what on Twitter check out Mom, this is how Twitter works.



  1. What is your impression of Twitter? If you are already on Twitter how has your view of Twitter changed from what it was before you started?
  2. Do you think all L&D people should be on Twitter? Why or why not?
  3. What is your biggest question about Twitter?

5 thoughts on “#7 What is Twitter?

  1. Just when you think you know something – you don’t. Just tried out the “send a coffee” twitter so a friend worked swimmingly. Very easy to set up.

    Now to the topic at hand – I’ve been on twitter for 6 years and it’s because of twitter that I have the friends (real not just virtual), the network and the increased knowledge of all things Learning and Development. Six years ago I was trying to be innovative always thinking “There has to be a better way” and twitter showed me the way. I am a better L&D professional because of my twitter network. My advice is to jump in, connect and engage. Find people who share your POV, make you laugh and make you think – and follow who they follow. (Of course after looking at the profile and making sure you like what you see).

    BTW – GREAT resources! The Mashable guide with tips to organize your followers…awesome… I needed that information! Thanks as always Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have been on Twitter since March 2009. When I first saw it, it seemed silly, stalker-like. My friend Sylvia talked about it. Why would I want to sit and watch people tweet things out? What a waste of time! 5 years later, I would say Twitter is the most influential and powerful tool out there. I use it for news, for networking, for development, for community, for education. I’m aching to sway any faculty member to use it in a classroom because I’ve seen it done and I know it rocks. I can’t say that all L&D people should be on Twitter. We all operate differently. Some people don’t get it or don’t want to do it. That’s fine. I’m going to say one of the most amazing resources for L&D is #lrnchat, which is a one-hour weekly discussion on learning on Thursday nights from 8:30-9:30 ET, where people from ALL OVER THE WORLD come together to talk about learning. (Learn more: lrnchat.com) I have made many valuable connections there and learned so much. Twitter is not just a place to follow your favorite celebrities…it’s important in oh, so many more ways. I especially love it for conference back-channels and storing/saving all the key points/resources. Give it some time. As for my question about Twitter, I’d like to know how to get Sting to tweet back to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t “get” Twitter at first either. I had an account for about two years before I actually dug in and started using it. I think Twitter is one of those things that you have to experience to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I use Scoop.It! for curation and I usually use twitter as a way to share what I find and post to Scoop.It!.There are a few people that i follow, but usually it has something to do with meeting them at a conference first and becoming interested in their thoughts, etc. Overall twitter is fun, but if I am reading everything, very time consuming. It offers lots of links to articles, which I enjoy, but it leads to an overload for me.


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