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Twitter, small rules and great suggestions – Part One

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Brief guide to the use of Twitter, technology that has been built for a very short time and which is based on some simple assumptions. Messages of 140 characters are sent, including spaces, through all means of transmission. Internet addresses get shorter, the snail is used in front of a name (eg @antoniodini for myself) to "call" a particular person into question, and follow the flow, the gigantic wave.

The thing that characterizes Twitter and its use not only how it is used, but also the tools you have available to use it. Twitter an anarchist flow of "tweets", that is "chirps", the individual messages sent by people (@antoniodini for example, we said) on various themes with indicated passwords (#apple, for example) and perhaps simply by re-transmitting – ReTweeting – another's message (RT @ antoniodini # apple Still nothing iTablet!) And also adding an internet address – which is technically called URL – in a shortened form thanks to the Web services that allow it. For example TinyURL.

In practice, the short message must have a lot of compact "code" to make itself understood: everyone sees the chirping but the recipient of the @ will remain in memory and will notice it. The RT allows the reader to understand that whoever sends it is not the original source, and perhaps will connect to the flow of the first sender. And here we enter on the second topic.

Followers, ie follow some sources. There are three ways to read the chirps: stick to the big flow, search for specific keywords (and now also people near where we are) or follow specific people. Becoming someone's "followers". the game of the links of the first blogs: the more followers I have, the more important I am (David Pogue, the New York Times journalist who deals with Mac, has more than a million). And in turn I can follow others (but then it becomes a mess if too many messages come in continuously).

In short, the thing that introduces Twitter is a new way of communicating that not e-mail or chat or blog, but a series of rapid and elusive messages, which allow you to follow, through the popularity of some keywords, even what the pieces are of conversation that emerge above the mass of noise.

The third thing? Twitter is not followed on its site. The nice thing that you can use all the software you want: some for a fee, many others (70%) free … and many are on Mac and iPhone-iPod touch. Cool, one might say, because thanks to these software the experience of using Twitter can vary a lot: some are technically made better, others have an interface that the end of the world. The result that, unlike Second Life, MySpace and Facebook, Twitter is also being successful because it puts power in the hands of developers and users, and it turns into a platform.

What are the best tools? How to move on Mac and iPhone? What chirping etiquette rules to follow? We will see this in the second part of this series of articles on Twitter twittering.