NOVA: Cracking the Maya Code
Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun

How ‘Tweet’ It Is

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with a few co-workers rambling on about wikis, blogs, Facebook and other web 2.0 tools we like to use personally and professionally. Twitter came up and so did my curiosity level. I’d heard of Twitter but hadn’t really explored it. Driven by my techie curiosity, I visited the website and learned that Twitter is “a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” Like a blog you control the content, how often you update it (or Tweets as we Twitter-savvy folk say), and you can invite your friends and family to create their own Twitter accounts or they can follow your Tweets through their mobile phones. And so you build your own community of Twitter-friendly folks. What sets Twitter apart is its content limit; you have 140 characters to say what you want. In other words, get to the point.

For the last couple of days I’ve been browsing the website, getting accustomed to saying things in a matter of 140 characters, understanding that having ‘followers’ is the same as having a friends list, and more importantly I’ve found that a number of PBS stations and programs actively use Twitter as a means of communicating with their audience. And why wouldn’t they? All it takes is a username, a password and a sentence or two. As a matter of fact I encourage you to give Twitter a whirl. Let your parents, kids, friends and neighbors know about your Tweets and communicate concisely. And don’t forget you can follow your Favorite PBS shows through another online portal. ☺

For now, not too many of my friends have caught on to Twitter but I’m pretty sure there’s a handful that will soon use it almost as often as they check their Facebook. Its simplicity and ability to update quickly makes it easy to see why everyone from your neighbors to presidential candidates are on Twitter. That’s right you can follow the campaigning of Clinton, Obama and McCain (sorry folks, no Nader tweets) via Twitter. You’ll also find the New York Times, Southwest Airlines, and, of course, some of your favorite PBS programs and initiatives are members of Twitter. Curious to see which programs are on Twitter? Here’s a list:

Tavis Smiley
WIRED Science
PBS Learning Now
PBS MediaShift

See you on the Tweet side,



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