Twitter..Life in 140 Characters or Less

twitter-window

Twitter. Twitter. Twitter. Hopefully by now, you’ve heard all about it. News on Twitter (the free microblogging service that let’s you send 140-character messages on whatever you want) is everywhere. It’s as if the media has twitter diarrhea because lately it’s all they are talking about. Reporters from all across the country are joining Twitter in droves and writing about their experiences like David Pogue of the NYT.

Now the media discussion has changed slightly from “hey, there’s this new service called Twitter” to it’s impact on the world of journalism. As Reuters reports, “News organizations are all a-twitter about Twitter: Is it a friend or a foe? Should it be embraced or eschewed? Will Twitter kill journalism or revive it?”

And then you have media outlets like the Financial Times that are trying to teach their readers about the culture and language of Twitter. You know, twitter messages are called “tweets.” The peeps who sign up to read your messages are “followers.” And when you send out someone else’s tweet, you are “re-tweeting.”(This is easily done by addressing your message to a follower by adding an “@” sign to their name, i.e., @faraichideya.)

And as interesting (or not) as this whole conversation about what Twitter is, the better question to ask is why are people using it? Why has Twitter caught on?

The media’s recent discussion and “discovery” is quite amusing to several of us (myself included), who has used Twitter for six months or more (called early adopters) because it used to be a new tool. There was something special about discovering it. Twitter’s long-time users have several reasons for loving and using the free, web-based service.

Like a lot of users, Danyel Smith (@danamo), editor of Vibe, (who I am a big fan of) started using the service because she was curious about it.

danamo

Others like novelist/music journalist/cultural critic Touré (@ToureX) thought it could help his professional writing skills.

tourex

BTW, he doesn’t really need any help in this area but it’s somehow endearing that he is continuously thinking about and working on his writing. It makes us think he is just like the rest of us, which is one of the beauties of Twitter. Unlike traditional media, which tends to be top-down or a one-way means of “them” telling “us” as readers something, Twitter creates a one-on-one conversation where anyone with a Twitter account can join in the conversation. It’s about two-way communication. Several journalists even started asking their Twitter followers if there were questions they wanted to ask in an important interview. Thus, it’s revolutionizing the way journalism is being done.

Many folks are joining because their favorite celebrities are on Twitter. There are few places in the world where you can talk to TV and movie stars like Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and his wife Demi Moore (@mrskutcher)… and they might talk back. Twitter has given regular folks yet another window into the daily lives of stars through their Twitter streams. You can find all sorts of celebs from Britney Spears (@britneyspears) to Puff Daddy (@iamdiddy) to MC Hammer (@MCHammer) to Omarosa (@omarosa). They are all there – tweeting away!

twitterati

Gawker even started tracking Twitter accounts with their daily posting of the Twitterati. It’s hilarious and a reminder that people are broadcasting their thoughts out onto the Internet for anyone to read (unless you adjust your privacy settings). And now, a person’s tweets (Senators, writers, TV stars and regular people) have somehow become the news and fodder for the media? Interesting flip!

And there are thousands that are just like me, who also use Twitter because it helps us connect with people – new and old friends. It even helps you meet like-minded folks. Whatever you are into, there is someone on Twitter that likes the same thing. (And you can use Twitter’s search site to find posts on your favorite subject.)

Twitter also keeps you informed and quickly (if you follow the right folks). And you don’t have to check thousands of news sites or even go to a RSS feed service. If you are following @CNN or @Drudge_Report or other media sites and the reporters that have recently hopped on-board, you will be definitely be in the know. And if you downloaded Twitterific or Tweetie for your iPhone (or Twitterberry for your Blackberry), you have these conversations and breaking news at your fingertips.

And obviously, if you have something interesting to say or sell, you should be using Twitter. Except beware, no one likes a constant self-promoter. The Twitter world is all about the give and take of information… you know, sharing. It feels like a conversation (although at times a bit scattered), but a talk nonetheless.

The merits of Twitter and its impact on media will be debated for years to come. But with technology giants, like Google (@Google) joining the Twitter fray, isn’t it time you checked it out for yourself. Don’t take my word for it or the thousands of media folks ranting or raving about it. See for yourself.. You may become a Tweetering fool that neglects their Facebook account for a bit (or is that just me).

Note: post also appears on HuffingtonPost and Pop+Politics




The New CaramelBella.com

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After looking far and wide (and I’m not exaggerating..well maybe a little), I’ve finally found a new design that I am pleased with. I hope that you will find the look: easy to read, soothing to the eyes, and well… captivating so you’ll come back for more.

In addition to the new look, I’m taking a new approach to my blog. This year, I plan to be even more honest and opinionated in my posts. And I’m also going to shock some of you with writings that make you think in terms of spirituality and health. And you’ll still get your dose of politics, culture, style and environmental thinking too. So, get on the CB train and enjoy the ride.

And if you don’t want to miss a single issue of CB, please subscribe. Here’s to a lovely new 2009!

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




Getting Organized as a Freelancer
Hardnick's Self-Help

Chris Hardnick's Self-Help Wall

Like many of you that read my blog, I am also a “freelancer.” The wikipedia defines freelancer as a “person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any particular employer.” I would define it as a person who seeks an alternative workstyle based on their creative pursuits and talents, while marketing and selling those skills to a world market. This person is simultaneously an employee and employer/manager. That’s a big job. This year I am seeking to do a better job of managing my time in order to produce the best creative output possible. In other words, I want to become more organized!

So, with those intentions in mind (also: be on the lookout for a post about intentions), I read Wired.com’s “Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek” written by Chris Hardnick (of the blog Nerdist). Basically, Hardnick decided to test out the works of several organization and time-management gurus on behalf of freelancing individuals everywhere. He reviewed David Allen’s Getting Things Done, also known by its shorthand of GTD. He also checked out Julie Morgenstern’s Never Check E-Mail in the Morning, and Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek.  (BTW: Don’t you love Hardnick’s post-it wall!)

Although I don’t want to spoil the ending (because you should really read the piece), it appears as though freelancers have to create their own organization system that best suits our individual needs. I’m personally developing and redeveloping my own workflow and time-management system. It’s a dynamic process for me. I’m trying to incorporate new methods that not only bring out my best organization but greatest creativity as well.

I’m trying out new things like Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way’s morning pages, in which you write three pages in long-hand first thing in the morning. And thanks to my new twitter buddy @YMIB (the developer of a fantastic web site called YMIB.com), I am now writing down ideas that I have in the bathroom and in the bedroom in cleverly placed notebooks in those areas. (And it’s working!) I’m feeling more productive and creative. And better yet, I’m having an abundance of creative ideas, which goes along with my intention for 2009 (more on that to come).

So, check out Chris Hardnick’s piece on Wired.com. And start working on your own personal workflow to create more organization, time-management and productivity in 2009. Please send comments, suggestions and what’s working for you. I’d love to repost them!

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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