The Adventures of Jack and Jill in the Lifestyle

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sexy Information: Twittering, Tweets, and having Twex!

More about Twittering, for those who want to fully participate on Twitter. :)

I'm actually very new to it myself, but Google is my friend, and I've done some research. So here's what I've learned, the shortest versions I can muster, paraphrasing multiple sources.


Twitter is a micro-blogging web site, which means that your "blog entries" are limited in size. In the Twitterverse (Twitter Universive), your blog entries are meant to be compact snippets into your life, obviously very different from a traditional blog. These blog entries, where you answer the question, "What are you doing?" are called Tweets and are limited to 140 characters.

Why 140? Because most of the major cell phone companies limit out-of-network text messages to 160 characters (if you go over 160, your carrier will likely send the message in two parts). In their infinite wisdom, the founders figured that a message of 140 characters added to the average user name (less than 20 characters recommended; the shorter the better) would equal 160 or less and therefore benefit mobile users. Twitter was founded with the idea that it would be something Tweeple(Twitter People or subscribers) would use on the go, so this text messaging limit is important at the core.

I've found five basic formatting tools for messages:

  • no formatting at all is to just type something in the 140-character box, and press "enter" or click "update." This isn't directed to anyone; it just is.
  • @username is sort of like sending an instant message to "username," except that it's not at all private. You can use multiple @usernames in one post. (More on this below.)
  • dm username is more like sending a regular instant message to "username," and it's private. Personally, however, I'm not sure I'd trust the privacy any farther than I can throw it. I'm honestly not sure if you can direct message multiple people at once or not. Since I don't trust it as private, I haven't used it much. (More on this below, too.)
  • #subject (# is properly known as a "hashmark," and this syntax is referred as "hashtag" in the Twitterverse) tags your message to belong to a particular subject group. This is basically one step beyond just mentioning something in a post and more akin to what you do in your blog tags. It can be very useful. For instance, let's say that someone posted:

"We got a new swing set for the kids - that Jake and Amber are real swingers, it turns out!"

versus:

"Jake and Amber went to their first #swing club. Turns out, they're real #swingers!"

In the first example, the poster was in no way attempting to attach to the lifestyle, while in the second, a concerted effort is made to attach to it. So, when we use the search tool to search "swingers," the first post will show in our search results. If we search "#swingers," then we know the results are meant for those participating in the lifestyle.

  • RT @originalposter is like copying someone's instant message and broadcasting it again. RT is short for ReTweet and ReTweeting is the highest compliment you can give someone. It's like saying, "I value your message, and I want to tell more people what you said." You always give credit to the original poster of a ReTweet. Note: If you want someone in particular - other than the original poster - to see the ReTweet, you would have two @usernames in your posting:

RT @originalposter You've got to check out this amazing swingers club! @otherperson Hey - he likes our club!

There are no hard and fast rules, and you won't get banned if you don't follow that ReTweeting syntax, but the letters "RT" at the beginning of the post tells others at a glance that it's information someone thought was good enough to be passed on, so I've learned that it's a good habit to get into.

Here are some more examples using these tools:

Send a message to three people (remember, it's NOT private). All three examples do the same thing:

@user1 @user2 @user 3 Are you guys going to the Trapeze tonight? If yes, what time?

or

Hey @user1 @user2 @user3 Are you guys going to the Trapeze tonight? If yes, what time?

or

Hey, Are you guys going to the Trapeze tonight? If yes, what time? @user1 @user2 @user 3

Send a message to three people, using hashtags. All three examples do the same thing:

@user1 @user2 @user 3 Are you guys going to the #Trapeze tonight? If yes, what time? #swingers

or

Hey @user1 @user2 @user3 Are you guys going to the #Trapeze tonight? If yes, what time? #swingers

or

Hey, Are you guys going to the #Trapeze tonight? If yes, what time? @user1 @user2 @user3 #swingers

You could also just send a general post, with no hashtags and not directed to anyone at all:

Hey, who's going to the Trapeze tonight? What time?

But with hashtags, it's more likely to be found by your intended audience:

Hey, who's going to the #Trapeze tonight? What time? #swingers

Regarding security on the direct messages, maybe it's just me, but Twitter is just too simple for me to believe there's any real security going on there. (I could be wrong!) But, for instance, let's say you post something (other than a direct message) and then click the trash can to delete it. Well, let me tell ya, it's still out there in the world. First, search engines pick up Twitter-ese all the time. You know that one-paragraph summary that appears in search results? Well, that summary is logged somewhere, and since a Tweet is only 140 characters, that whole Tweet equals the summary. Check out Tweleted for more on that topic. Second, Twitter's own help links to confirm that deleted Tweets still show up in search results. The easiest way for someone to find your deleted Tweets would be to search your screen name. Try it.

Also, there are several add-ins that Tweeple use without even thinking twice about security when installing them. Every one of those add-ins requires your password. 'Nough said.

So. There you have it. If you're looking to be found (and thus followed) by other swingers, start using #swingers. Based on the searches I've done, it seems that mostly spammers use #swinger, and #swingers is seriously underused. So let's own it, Tweeps!

Also kick-starting #tworgy (Twitter Orgy) and (or re-starting) #twex (Twitter Sex). It seems that sex, in general, is under commented on Twitter, so it's ours to own. Join in the fun, if you're so inclined.

And, by all means, if I’ve missed something vitally important, please add your two cents!

Fondly yours,

Jill

7 comments:

Stray Together said...

I'm sorry for those of you using Google Chrome that this post appears entirely on the front page of the blog - and it's not even a fun, sexy post!

I've been messing with the code tags for a couple of hours (literally) and, Firefox and IE7 both finally render it correctly.

Please scroll for the better blogging! :)

Fondly,
Jill

Rev. J. said...

As an additional thing on hashtags, you can find out what a lot of them mean (and define your own) on http://tagal.us .

Oasis said...

Awesome info, thx!!

Stray Together said...

Thanks, Rev. J! Submitted "tworgy" to Urban Dictionary (http://bit.ly/zSedZ) and was approved! YAY! Also tagged to @twictionary.

Will submit to http://tagal.us as soon as UD has the definition posted, so I can link. =)

These seem like the logical first steps in spreading the word. I see that several other Tweeple posted using the #tworgy tag today.

Let's be trendsetters, my fellow #swingers!

Fondly yours,
Jill

Stray Together said...

My pleasure, Oasis. :)

Rev. J. said...

The reason I use tagal.us is that (and here's where my geekiness shows through) I have a script with GreaseMonkey that automatically links the hashtags on Twitter with the definition on tagal.us. That way, if I find a tag I don't know, I can click on it & (hopefully) read a definition. :-D

Stray Together said...

Since you posted this, I've checked out Tagal.us. I like it, as well.

Fondly,
Jill