All Kinds of Interesting Stuff Is on Twitter
Last week, history was made when Newt Gingrich's first confirmation of his run for the presidency came with a tweet on Twitter.
"Today I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," he said in the tweet. He then posted a link to the video of the announcement.
This announcement on Twitter, the popular social media website where people post their lives in bits of 140 characters, affirmed this site as a place to get the most current news.
News often breaks on Twitter before it is on television. That's not surprising. News outlets must take time to verify the veracity of the news before making it public.
There is no such verification on Twitter. Anyone can post pretty much anything they like. Often, however, the news is true. For instance, news of Osama bin Laden's recent death was on Twitter hours before the president made his historic speech announcing the raid in Pakistan.
Not everything you read on Twitter is accurate, but because so many high-level individuals are now using Twitter, you can often get the news "right from the horse's mouth." This has given Twitter a kind of instant credibility.
Just about every celebrity and politician you can think of is on Twitter. This includes President Obama, Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Warren Buffet, Sarah Palin, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Derek Jeter and Oprah.
Once on Twitter, people post information about themselves, their lives, news or anything else in 140 characters-or-less posts that are called tweets. They then sign up to follow others who interest them, and people sign up to follow them.
While Gingrich has more than 1 million followers, that is really not a lot. President Obama has 7.5 million followers, and Lady Gaga has almost 10 million.
If you are already on Twitter, you probably understand the whole ecosystem. Many Twitter users post their tweets using mobile devices such as cell phones as well as on the computer.
If you are unfamiliar with how Twitter works, it is easy to see what it is all about. You can look at Twitter without having to sign up. Just surf over to www.twitter.com. You will immediately see a place to join, and you may think that is the only option you have. However, you can actually look around without signing up.
Instead of signing up, just enter a name in the Twitter search box on the main page. Start with the name of someone you know is on Twitter. If you don't personally know anyone on Twitter, start by entering the name of one of the personalities that I have just mentioned.
You will be taken to a page with results for people with that name listed on the right. For celebrities and noted people, if there is a blue checkmark next to their name, it means that they have been verified to actually be the person named. When you click on their name, you will see their list of tweets (things they have posted) on the left side of the page. You will also see small thumbnails of the people who follow that person.
To keep looking around, just click on any picture. For instance, if you enter Lady Gaga and click on her profile, one of the pictures may be Leo DiCaprio. Click on his picture, and you will see his tweets as well as the fact that Tom Cruise follows him. Click on Tom - well, you get the idea.
In the list of tweets, you will also see names with an at-sign before them, like @newtgingrich. This indicates a person who is on Twitter. You can click on that name to get to the list of tweets from that person.
You can also search for words. Search for any words you like. Want to see how many people are making "ham and eggs"? Just type in ham and eggs without the quotes. You will find people preparing ham and eggs and people eating ham and eggs. You may also get several recipes for ham and eggs.
When I searched for ham and eggs, I also found a tweet that said, "A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig."
Yes, there is always a surprise or something interesting on Twitter. It's all pretty intuitive, so don't hesitate to check it out. You will see everything from what some celebrity had for breakfast to real breaking news.
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