Social Media Monday - What is Twitter

by Lara Last week we talked about blogging and this week I'm going to talk about an aspect of social media that more people have a hard time getting in to - Twitter.

Twitter - in it's simplest explanation - is microblogging. It is a place where you can talk about the things that you are doing online and in small bites - 140 character bites. (Here is my Twitter page if you want to have a look)

The bigger question then becomes WHY?

Many people who don't use Twitter just can't understand the concept. What is the point? Who cares?? I don't get it!!

So here is my attempt to explain.

If you were to stand in the mall yelling out random things about yourself ("I'm meeting my friend Jenny for lunch!" "I don't know what's good to eat in this food court!" "Is there a place to nurse my baby in this mall?") you are fairly unlikely to get an enthusiastic response. If, however, you are at the mall with a group of your friends and you had any of those questions, someone would try to help you with the answers.

The same goes for Twitter.  If you don't know anyone who is using Twitter- the above questions are likely going to go out into the twitterverse (made up words starting with tw are just a fun part of twitter I'm afraid you're going to have to put up with me using in this post) unanswered. If, however, you have a large group of people who follow you on twitter and you say something like that, you may very well get a lot of response with advice, tips, etc.

"Say hi to Jenny for me!" "I love Taco Del Mar" "Check out the amazing nursing room near the food court"

Brie and I read each others blogs before we used Twitter, but it was only once we started talking on Twitter, and then subsequently met at a tweetup (twitter+meetup... you get it :) that we became friends.  Without twitter, there would be no Kids in the Capital.

And that tweetup happened because there is an incredible community of Ottawa parents on Twitter. Parents who help each other out.  Who are there when you're up in the middle of the night with a sick baby, to give advice on weird rashes, to commiserate over picky eaters, to talk about why such and such a place is the perfect place to go for a playdate with 4 year olds, etc, etc, etc.

Twitter, when used properly, is a community, a social network, a support group, and a lot of fun. It is a goldmine.

But Twitter isn't always obvious - it can be hard to use, hard to navigate, and hard to understand. So we will explain it!

In subsequent posts we will go through how to sign up for a Twitter account.  Once you have your Twitter account you'll want to know how you find people to follow and how do you get people to follow you back.  We'll discuss what all the symbols and terminology mean (there are a lot of short cuts needed to say what you want to say in 140 characters) and then we'll discuss some of the tools people use with twitter from Hootsuite and tweetdeck, to twtvite and twitpic.  There's a lot of info but we'll try to break it down for you so that it makes sense and you're prepared to dive in and give it all a try.

And if you're already on twitter, or want to go at it on your own - follow me and say hi, I'm @larawellman.  And say hi to Brie too - @capitalmom. We are, of course, @kidsincapital.

Lara is mom to 3.5 year old Kiernan and 1 year old twins Quinn and Juliette. You can read her blog at Gliding Through Motherhood.