Sunday, April 12, 2009

A New Bad Habit: Twitter

I didn't think I'd like Twitter, but I stumbled over its web interface and gave it a try. I've been pleasantly surprised. It's simple, easy to use, and lacking all the bells and whistles that make other social sites annoying, difficult, and prone to bugs. Twitter does what it does well. It doesn't do much, but that's okay; the emphasis is on the interaction between people. The shortness means you have to work hard to bore people to death, but at the same time allows you to have conversations. The 140 character limit for tweets (messages) is the perfect length for a haiku or tanka poet, and not surprisingly, there are tanka poets on Twitter.

They use hashtags (keywords) to make tweets searchable, and there are hashtags for #tanka and #tankagame and #twitpoems and various other forms of literature. So far folks have been nice and friendly. Of course you can search for whatever you like, and you can add whatever hashtags you want to your own posts to make them findable by others.

Another nice feature is that your Twitter home preserves the tweets, so even if you're not online, you can still get them. Likewise you can also receive direct messages (private messages). Unlike chat programs that require you to be online at the same time as the other person, you can read and reply to your tweets whenever you like. It's like email that way, except shorter, with simpler addresses.

And thank God, it does not have smiley faces or animated icons! The interface is clean and neat without a bunch of clutter and a million ways to annoy other people with cutesy things that aren't cute at all to the average adult human being.

If you're on Twitter, say hi @kujakupoet. If you're not on Twitter, give it a try.

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