This territory at the Renaissance will find people
Sharing twitter and face book stories
And, if desired, instruction regarding…

Twittering and Facebooking.


Getting the Most Out of Twitter

Published: March 3, 2010
from the New York Times

A COMMON reason given by those who have yet to try Twitter: “I have nothing to say.”

The truth is, you don’t have to post a message to get the most out of Twitter.

At its best, the social medium is a perpetual, personalized news service about topics of your choosing — whether health care reform, tech news or the latest episode of “ Gossip Girl” — filtered and served to you by people who care a lot about what you care a lot about.

Even the most prolific users say Twitter has become more useful as a way to tap in to the discussions of the day than to broadcast their own thoughts. And once you get pulled in, you might just find you have something to say after all.

Biz Stone, Twitter’s co-founder, suggests that naysayers simply log on to Twitter’s home page and search for a topic they are interested in, whether it’s their favorite sports team, the name of their company or a topic in the news.

Within a minute, they understand the appeal, he said.

Twitter users write 50 million messages a day. For the holdouts, here are a few ways to make Twitter work for you.

A CUSTOM NEWS FEED By the time Bridget Baker, who works in public relations in Seattle, checks Google Reader while eating lunch at her desk, she has already read most of the articles in her feed because she saw them on Twitter.

In the year since she joined, she has written only 17 posts. “I tend to be a pretty private person. and I don’t feel I have anything that needs to be said,” she said. Yet she opens Twitter first thing each morning and follows friends, bloggers and thought leaders who post about politics, religion, fashion and food.

People with shared interests become your editor and Twitter becomes an alternative RSS feed. Find those people by searching Twitter directories, like WeFollow or Just Tweet It, and by following people whom others repeat or mention.

One-fifth of posts and 57 percent of repeat messages contain a link, proving that this is an increasingly popular way to spread news, said Dan Zarrella, a social media scientist who works at a software company called HubSpot. A quick scan reveals the news of the moment as the most important stories of the day bubble up and are reposted.

For instance, when Audi showed an ad for a green car during the Super Bowl, Chip Giller, the founder of Grist, an environmental news site, immediately noticed a debate about the car’s environmental merits on Twitter. Sure enough, the next day it was a big story.

CHECK YOUR LISTS Twitter is such a fast-moving stream that you may not want to follow everyone who posts about your interests. That’s one reason Twitter invented Lists, which anyone can create. Someone could separate celebrity users, owners of food carts in New York or tech pundits, for example, so they get an unadulterated stream of news on only the topic they want at that moment.

If you don’t know who the best users are on a favorite topic, look for Lists on sites like Listorious or by checking profiles.

Janessa Goldbeck works in Washington for a rights organization, the Genocide Intervention Network. Each morning, she checks a few Twitter Lists of people who work in human rights. “I don’t want to follow all those people, but I can get a snapshot of the landscape each day by looking at the Lists,” she said. “It’s the quickest, most personalized news filter you could imagine.”

ATTEND A CONFERENCE, VIRTUALLY Most conferences these days have a Twitter hashtag. At the exclusive TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., in February, for example, attendees added #TED to the end of their posts.

By searching #TED on Twitter, people could read the latest updates (and skip the $6,000 attendance fee). People wrote quotes from the speakers, like this one: “ ‘If I only had only one wish for the next 50 years, it’d be to invent the thing that halves the cost of CO2’ — Bill Gates #TED.”

Others told us what we were lucky to be missing: “last talk on evolution #TED was obvious, boring and put audience to sleep.”

WHAT’S AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW Twitter is working on ways to deliver news nearby, like alerts about an earthquake or the closing of a bridge, Mr. Stone said.

Twitter’s list of trending topics can now be searched by city. On Wednesday, “TAKS” was a trending topic in San Antonio because schools were giving the annual achievement test of that name, while “Dennis Seidenberg” was trending in Boston because the Boston Bruins had acquired the hockey player from Florida.

Some Twitter apps, like Tweetie and TwitterLocal, let you search posts near you. Check the Web site to see the most discussed topics in your area.

People are coming up with makeshift ways to do something similar. During the recent snowstorm in Washington, people added #snowpocalypse to the end of their posts. By searching that term, Ms. Goldbeck said she read news about closings of government offices and Metro stops before she heard it elsewhere.

ASK QUESTIONS Once your Twitter writer’s block lifts, you can use Twitter to ask questions when you don’t know whom to ask.

Ask where to eat dinner in a new city, for example, or how to extend your iPhone’s battery life, and you are sure to get answers.

Some people are even using Twitter for more urgent questions. Bertalan Meskó, a medical student at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, wrote a post about a patient with mysterious symptoms: “Strange case today in internal medicine rotation. 16 years old boy with acute pancreatitis (for the 6th! time). Any ideas?”

Within hours, specialists worldwide had responded, suggesting gallstones, lupus or growths on the pancreas. One of the suggestions helped the doctors with a diagnosis.

“It would have been impossible to find that specialist through e-mail, because we had no idea who to contact,” Mr. Meskó said.
Story Via the New York Times
Back to top

The Twitter School of Urban Aquaculture and Urban Agriculture

Transforming Industrial Slums Into Aquaculture Farms and Campuses

See front page Milwaukee Renaissance story on this and add your story to this wiki site or e-mail it to

The Facebook School of Urban Aquaculture and Urban Agriculture

See front page Milwaukee Renaissance story on this and add your story to this wiki site or e-mail it to

Why Smart Mobs Is Hooked on Twitter

Openness — anyone can join, and anyone can follow anyone else (unless they restrict access to friends who request access)
Immediacy — it’s a rolling present. You won’t get the sense of Twitter if you just check in once a week. You need to hang out for minutes and hours, every day, to get in the groove.

Variety — political or technical argument, gossip, technical info, news flashes, poetry, social arrangements, classrooms, repartee, scholarly references

Reciprocity — people give and ask freely for information they need (this doesn’t necessarily scale or last forever, but right now it’s possible to tune your list — and to contribute to it — to include a high degree of reciprocation)

A channel to multiple publics — I’m a communicator and have a following that I want to grow and feed. I can get the word out about a new book or vlog post in seconds — and each of the 1300 people who follow me might also feed my memes to their own networks. I used to just paint. Now I document my painting at each stage of the process, upload pix to flickr or flicks to, then drop a tinyurl into Twitter. Who needs a gallery or a distributor?

Asymmetry — very interesting. Very few people follow exactly the same people who follow them.

A way to meet new people — it happens every day

A way to find people who share interests — I follow people I don’t know otherwise but who share an interest in educational technology, video, online activism.

A window on what is happening in multiple worlds, some of which I am familiar with, and others that are new to me

Lots more in comments to this statement by Howard Rheingold at…

Bucketworks Twitter and Facebook Workshop

We are hosting training workshops on social media at Bucketworks — you can learn how to Twitter and how to Facebook there, event starting April 28 at 3pm!

How can I help?

James Carlson
Director, Bucketworks: The world’s first health club for the brain
My direct line: 414–405–2701
1340 N 6th St
Check our schedule at
Where do you ‘what if’ together?

How Twitter (and differ from Facebook

  • Twitter and are “microblogging” platforms, while Facebook has many other components. This makes the latter a richer, but also more diffuse environment.
  • Because Facebook users typically hide their updates and other material from anyone with whom they do not already have a relationship, Facebook user-relationships are necessarily reciprocal; the microblogging platforms are intentionally asymmetrical — if I follow you, I do not necessarily expect you to follow me, and if you follow me, I feel no obligation to follow you.

How to use Twitter or fruitfully

As a reader

  • Twitter and need not be the pools of narcissism some make them out to be; get started by using Twitter’s search to discover conversations and participants whose contributions interest you. Create an account of your own in order to subscribe to those participants, so that when you log in to your account you can see in one place what all of those participants are twittering about. If you begin by following people whose tweets you have pre-determined are about topics that interest you, you’ll find that the twitter-stream contains new information and valuable insights into the topics you care about.
  • As a “follower” — reader or consumer — of others’ tweets, you have the freedom (one might say an obligation) to be selective about whom you follow. If someone frequently posts useful, new or amusing tweets about something that interests you, but includes too high a ratio of “noise” (posts that don’t interest or amuse you), you’re free to unfollow. No one can follow everyone while still gaining value from the service. Be selective.

As an author

  • Be mindful of what you want to see from others. Read for a while before you begin to post. Try to decide in advance what your main topics will be, and what proportion of personal to topical you will strive for.
  • If you are microblogging as the voice of an organization or business, neither spam (post only about your own organization’s activities) nor dilute with personal minutiae.

Great Twitter Parody

Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by Godsil and TeganDowling.  Page last modified on March 04, 2010

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Emergency Digital. | Hosted by Steadfast Networks