Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm All Twitterpated

I'm late to the party, but based on the advice of many of the folks at the SharePoint Best Practices Conference I've signed up to Twitter - and boy is it fun!

It took me a while to understand it, because it's a variety of different things rolled into one. It's a micro-blogging platform, meaning it's easy to write little posts or "tweets" in 140 characters or less. It's a subscription service like an RSS feed, where you can listen to people talking about a particular topic. It's also a great way to get support - companies often search on twitter now and respond to questions and support issues.

Case in point: I'm still researching hosted Exchange email, so yesterday I started the usual Google search to find reviews etc...but then had the happy thought of asking Twitter people about it. By asking a question and putting the keyword #exchange in it, my question appeared to anyone following that keyword. Soon suggestions and advice were flowing in.

As well, companies that host Exchange starting contacting me and making suggestions. So it's a kind of active-passive channel to get quick information from people in the know.

Then there's the fun side of it - following people in all walks of life, listening to them talk about their favourite tv shows, trips, obsessions - there's a lot of weird and wonderful stuff out there. It's a real slice of life!

Right now I'm following a variety of SharePoint folks but also people interested in things like Exchange, NHibernate, and programming best practices.

I'm also following some friends and colleagues, and even the great British actor Stephen Fry, who is one of the most popular twitterers in the world with over 100,000 followers (people who subscribe to his tweets). His latest tweets describe him whale-watching, drinking Tequila, and riding a mule up a mountain for some movie he's filming (not at the same time).

To get started, all you have to do is create a profile on To make it easier to twitter I am using a desktop client. This helps with searching, following people, and tracking through the long lists of tweets. The one I chose is Twhirl which is an Adobe AIR application that sits in my task pane window and alerts me the moment a new tweet comes in.

A good thing to do is check out Twitter tips and tricks on the web. ReadWriteWeb has a lot of great information on twitter usage, applications, and tips - here's a link to their twitter articles. Also Joel Oleson has some SharePoint + Twitter tips on his blog.

You can follow me on twitter at @NickKellett or at

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