twitter_bird_logo_by_ipotionI have mentioned my twitter updates before, and have now been told that just because someone is online reading blogs like this one doesn't mean they automatically have any idea of what I was talking about. In the words of Mel Gibson in Braveheart, "that is something we shall have to remedy, then." The premise of Twitter as I understand it is having a platform to communicate with like-minded people, sharing thoughts, business advice, promotions, recipes, links - whatever you wish, in the box called "What are you doing?" (see below)

Unlike when writing a blog, where you have unlimited space to give words to your thoughts and feelings, a so-called tweet is of 140 characters maximum (and believe me, those run out fast). This makes sharing your thoughts quick, concise, and to the point.

Kind of like a blog where you can allow readers to register with you and receive automatic update reports, twitter users may choose to "follow" you, i.e. see your updates on their twitter homepage. Likewise, when you decide to follow someone, their updates will make up the entries on your homepage (I've attached a screenshot of mine as an example).

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 10.20.55 AM.png

As you'll see in the upper right-hand corner, I currently follow 199 people (who send multiple updates every day, so no, I don't read every single one of them), and 245 people currently follow me. I have sent 904 tweets (that's what they call the updates) by the date this screenshot was taken.

"Home" is where I see the tweets of those I follow, i.e. the above screenshot. Below where it says "@deesbtlyw" I can click on there to see who has mentioned me. When a tweet begins with @ it is usually a reply to one of that person's tweets (example screenshot below), whereas "RT" is short for "retweet" and means you've read this somewhere and thought it was so great that you want to share it with your followers, too. This is frequently used when you're praised by someone else, so an easy way to share short testimonials.

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 10.30.29 AM.png

There is also the possibility to send direct, private messages, that do not appear in the public stream. Those are like emails, but again limited to 140 characters. Under "Favorites" you may earmark special tweets for easy finding. You will be familiar with the "Search" function, it does what it says, and below are "Trending Topics." Those are topics that the majority of twitterers are tweeting about, hot topics (on September 15th) are Patrick Swayze's death, you can imagine what that board looked like when Michael Jackson died, and I see Kanye West is still getting talked about after his outburst on the MTV awards on Sunday.

What's all this good for, then, except a bunch of self-involved eejits blabbering about what they had for dinner? Well, glad you asked! I can't speak for everyone, but I use this and other online media to introduce myself to potential clients. Some of you who read this blog may never want to hire my services, but if there is a person out there who would like to have the experience of coaching, be it in an expatriate or national lifestyle setting, I'm hoping they'll remember that I'm here and offer just that. By updating this blog and my twitter page, people have the chance to get to know me and read a bit about what's important to me in life. And that gives great clues as to what my philosophy is, and whether we'd click if we ever met. Coaching is a process that requires so much trust and respect, you see, that being on the same wavelength is a tremendous help. When people find me and contact me for coaching after having read my blog and twitter updates, I know that some form of pre-selection has already taken place. Because if you don't like what you read, you won't contact me, and that saves me from having a bad testimonial. Pretty nifty, right?

Still, Twitter is also a great way to spend time and stay ahead of the loop when it comes to e.g. Hollywood gossip. There are a number of celebrities online, and you can search for their names or directly type their twitter account addresses into your browser and hear what's happening from the horse's mouth. Many also share photos, and I think it's a great way for the ones who feel like sharing to get the truth (or at least their version of events) out there. We all know not all tabloid reporting can be trusted. Of course there's George Clooney, who allegedly decided he'd rather have a prostate exam on live TV by a man with really cold hands than a facebook page, so I'm guessing twitter is out for him, too. But here are some of his more tech-friendly and less trepidatious (is that a word or isn't it?) colleagues: http://twitter.com/J_Canfield, http://twitter.com/StephenTColbert, http://twitter.com/gretchenrubin, http://twitter.com/KevinSpacey, http://twitter.com/NiaVardalos, http://twitter.com/richardbranson, http://twitter.com/aplusk, http://twitter.com/mrskutcher, http://twitter.com/oprah and the list goes on.

That's it, in a nutshell! :-) You may view my updates here: http://twitter.com/deesbtlyw, and whenever you're ready to create an account, let me know your address, and we'll be connected. I'd like that.

Til next week, have a good one! Thanks to iPotion for the image.

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