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Donkin's World: All Of A Twitter

Journalist and author Richard Donkin samples social networking on the Net.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site http://www.richarddonkin.com/

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

I'm finding that social networking is rather like Marmite http://www.ilovemarmite.com/ - you love it or hate it. So if you are in the latter camp and have just received an email from me inviting you to join Twitter.com https://twitter.com
let me send you my sincere apologies for cluttering up your email box.

If, on the other hand, you were curious to know more - as I see a few were - all I can tell you is that my co-presenter at a recent seminar on social networking was telling us that Twitter was the "new new thing."

Status box

What it does, in a nutshell, is to take one of the most popular features of Facebook - a "status box" that allows you to make a brief mention of something you are doing - and share it among friends or contacts.

Everyone is restricted to 140 characters a twitter so you must keep your message brief. But you can include web links and there is a feature to receive Twitter notes (or tweats) on your mobile phone.

Is it a great thing? I have no idea, but I'm going to give it a try in the same way that I gave Facebook a try.

Social profit

"So you have nothing better to do with your time," some friends have said. In reality I don't spend much time doing this stuff and there is always, always, always some kind of return. But don't think of financial advantage, think of social profit. As BT once said in its advertising: "It's good to talk." Now we might find that it's good to tweat too.

In addition to Twitter I have also signed up to FriendFeed http://friendfeed.com/ - a site that aggregates your involvement in various social networks. It seems like a good idea. I joined another too but can't for the life of me remember what it was - oh hum.

David Creelman, a Toronto-based human resources specialist who runs Creelman Research http://www.richarddonkin.com/x_silent_monitor.htm and who I also find is Tweating, has given me his own take on how Twitter could be useful in the workplace.

Imagine you are working on a project with five other people. You all sign up to Twitter and have your own twitter group. At a glance you can see how each other is progressing.

As David puts it:

"I suspect that it will be of most use when a group of some sort decides to use it for a real purpose. For example, a dispersed team might suggest they all use Twitter and it could be almost like overhearing the buzz of background conversation:

A - can't get the new motor working, called in for service
C - arrived in Frankfurt, will see Tony later
E - finished the code for sorting
F - J. is sick so I'm at home

The messages here would be distinguished from email because there would be nothing "need to know here." At the same time if you glanced at this from time to time you might pick up useful information. Not only that, simply the buzz would make you feel you were part of a team (if you were in a remote location) not a guy alone in his home office wondering why he wasn't rich like his friends."

That last bit, incidentally, is a personal reference to a twitter remark by some sad dude. I can't imagine who.

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