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Twitter has grown up, and tweets have matured

india Updated: Nov 15, 2009 23:15 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times
Twitter

Twitter, the “microblogging” site, has come a long way, and seems to be discovering new frontiers, though it is not yet in the money-making league.

Originally, Twitter was designed to answer a simple question, “What are you doing now?” to help people keep up with friends and contacts about stray thoughts, situations and observations. Since then, it has grown to new levels.

For example, newspapers and news organisations use Twitter to broadcast breaking news and alerts on articles. (You can follow Hindustan Times by following @htTweets). Celebrities and marketers use Twitter to promote their personalities or goods or services –though overdoing this can be counter-productive.

Anyone can use Twitter to share alerts and hyperlinks on interesting articles or websites. Twitter’s tweets allow only 180 characters. If the hyperlink’s characters are below that, it automatically generates a shorter link (at bit.ly), by clicking on which you can read or access the feature. Where this is not possible, you can go to a site like TinyURL (www.tinyurl.com) where you can quickly generate a short link for that which you want to share. (Tabbed browsing, now easily available in Firefox, Chrome and Explorer enables you to easily access sites like TinyURL without leaving Twitter).

Twitter recently introduced a feature called lists. Following hundreds or thousands of tweeters can be tough. Now, users (including you) can create lists of people you follow based on topics or interests or join readymade lists created by others. I found myself on journalist lists and have started one on the Indian economy (You can follow me at @madversity)

This month, Twitter marked a new milestone when it partnered with LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Twitter feeds can now be linked to LinkedIn profiles. The interesting thing is that you can define those tweets that you want to show up on the profile. And your contacts can offer comments on your tweets. This is a bit like updating your curriculum vitae (CV) round-the-clock in a casual way, enhancing your professional personality, and generating and joining in on conversations of interest.

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