I n case you haven't been following along, I'm wrapping up a series about getting started on Twitter. A bit ago, I wrote about using Twitter's networking power. But that's not its only use -- it's also a great microblogging platform.
Quite simply, microblogging is a way of sharing your thoughts in concise ways. Twitter's 140-character word limit forces you to choose your words wisely...unless you're Kanye West, in which case it allows you to go on 50-post rants about word choice (that actually end up being surprisingly insightful).
Here are some different ways people in the Twittersphere are microblogging successfully.
A lot of people use Twitter to vent their frustrations, excitement, hope and despair. They see the site as an outlet through which they can communicate what is going on in their personal lives -- and if people care enough to follow along and maybe interact, good for them!
While multiple personal posts of the same nature can start to get annoying pretty quickly, they are generally interesting and give followers a way to share in the Tweep's experiences.
Using Twitter to share random brief stories from your life can help you find people who relate, hear other people's stories and just give you a place to put that "you'll never believe what just happened" feeling. The best stories I see are usually about weird dreams people have. I love this one from @andrewhyde, who is currently chillin' in Germany as part of his endless trip around the world: "I had a nightmare that the only German I knew was 'alles was man essen kann' in reference to a buffet."
A big part of blogging in general is talking about other things you see online. While Twitter gives you less room for commentary, it makes it easier to retweet and post links that show up right in people's stream -- no RSS finagling required.
Posting links lets people see a snapshot what you're interested in -- along with things you think are just so stupid you HAVE to share them -- while delivering expanded content that could spark a conversation.
Retweeting is the easiest way to share links --click a button and boom, someone's link is on your page. Your followers get a preview of content from accounts you follow, and the people you're retweeting get to have that little ego boost of knowing their post was worth sharing.
But when making links the focus of your microblogging experience, it's important not to stick strictly to retweets. Chances are you're reading external sites anyway -- why not share them on Twitter?
My favorite microbloggers combine personal stories and links. One microblogger who truly gets it is a CU student, @sabinamuslimovi. Her profile is well designed, she has a great bio and generally sticks to a theme of writing, literature, and student life. Her tweets blend well -- from frustrations with out-of-date professors to links to stories about eye-controlled smartphones -- without becoming boring or redundant.
-- Jessica Ryan (@jessicalryan) is a senior media studies major at CU-Boulder. She writes about being a nerd once a week for the Colorado Daily.