Archive for June, 2009

twitterLet’s face it. Like it or not, Twitter is here .. and it is here to stay. Whether you like it or not.

Historians will look back at the evolution of mankind and will soon come back with a division that has a chunk of history – pre-Twitter and the world as we know it today Twitter-topia.

I consider myself a techno-phile and I can’t wait to get cracking the latest new technology built to make life more easier or interesting. Yet, as Twitter evolved around me, I adamantly refused to give in. In doing that, I grew to loathe all things Twitter. But ignore it as I might, it kept popping up everywhere. Eventually, I caved and I decided I would give it a go.

It turns out that my reaction to Twitter is quite normal. Everyone is either obsessed with it or hates the very byte-code fabric that make it work. These are people who are on Twitter and not on Twitter … respectively.

So if you are in the second category waiting to jump ship to the Twitter bandwagon, let’s get stated.

What is Twitter?

It is a social networking website  / program. You basically keep telling the world the answer to one simple question in 140 characters or less – “What are you doing?”

That’s it?

Broadly – yes. Specifically – yes.

And this is great, why?

Red Pill / Blue Pill?

Red please, and fries.

Log on to Twitter.com. Don’t expect any fancy reading. Click the big Green button in the middle of the page.

This takes you to the login page. Enter your name, handle (what the Twitter world will see you as, pick something short and sweet), password, email and botcheck. Click create.

If everything is okay, Twitter will take you through a few more steps to find all your other friends already on Twitter. I really recommend that you do this right now, so you’ll have someone to read up on as soon as you get in.

That’s it. The whole process should have taken you about 5 minutes from start to finish. Now your next question is surely going to be ..

Okay, I’m in. Now what?Twitter Landing

Chances are that you found someone on Twitter and you should be seeing their updates at least. The page that you are seeing this updates is your homepage. Your URL should read http://twitter.com/<your handle>. Click on the pic to open a new page and I’ll try and take you through the important parts of this page.

1. This textbox is where you answer the all-pervasive question. Write whatever you want here and press update.  If you have used Facebook before, this is a no-brainer.

2. This just lets you know that there is a 140 character limit and decreases for every character you type in.

3. Your last updated message will show here.

4. Following – how many people are you currently following (your icons, crushes, friends, ex-s, whatever). Followers – how many people are stalking you (your fan following) . Updates – how many updates have you posted since you came to life on Twitter.

5. The timeline. Here you can see who posted what and when. Yes, your tweets also show up here so it’s easy to maintain flow.

Try posting something. “Hello world” may not really draw attention. “I just would like to say 2 things – I’m new to Twitter and I’m gay” – will surely get you a lot more attention from your followers.

So anything I say ..?

Yes. Anything you say is recorded and filed away to glory. So do think twice before you press update. There is a way however to talk to some without getting into the global domain. This called D (see below), the twitter equivalent of the PM in common chat interfaces.

If I’m using Twitter, am I tweeting twit?

The lingo is getting established, but the basics are pretty easy. Here are some of the more important commands and phrases.

@username:-“at username”

Generally, your status messages will be addressed to no one in particular. But sometimes you would like to respond to someone in particular. While noobs prefer to use the @ tag at the beginning of their message there is no need to do so. Just imagine you were chatting with the person, and where you would say his/her name, say “@username”. Sample this:-

ajitloin:- I think I should chop of Mona’s hands.

monadlng:-But why @ajithloin

ajitloin:- Well @monadlng your typing sucks. I’m hoping to improve your shorthand.

RT username: ReTweet

This is the equivalent of the Forward that we use in emails. People usually RT when they come across a tweet for someone else that they feel their followers would like to read. It is good manners to give credit to the original poster of the tweet. Look at this tweet from robert below

robert:- Guys I think we’re going to be a little shorthanded 🙂 RT ajitloin Well @monadlng your typing sucks. I’m hoping to improve your shorthand.


robert:- RT ajitloin Well @monadlng your typing sucks. I’m hoping to improve your shorthand.

OH Overheard

This is something that you heard somewhere and feel like sharing with your world

robert:- OH “I hope I marry a historian. The more old I grow, the more interested he gets.”

#something:- Hash:- If you enter a #something, it means you are categorizing your tweet. For example,

robert:- Waiting for my boss to get here. Can’t hold up this bank all by myself. #BankJob

ajitloin:- Why do I get this vague feeling I should be somewhere else and not having my back massaged by mona in Hawaii?

monadlng:- @robert, you’re screwed. #Bankjob

You can read about the latest happenings that people are tweeting about all over the world by going to http://hashtags.org/

D someone:- Direct

This is when you want to tweet someone without anyone being able to read what you’ve written. For eg:-

robert:- D monadlng See you outside in 10?

monadlng:- D robert can’t hardly wait.

How can I update my Twitter Status?

Simple question. But that has innumerable answers. Let’s try:-

a. Through the web:- Simplest method. Log in to your page at twitter.com. Type. Click update.

b. Through your browser:- This lets you update from within your browser. Have a look at Twitterfox. I picked it up from @pigtale who uses it. Check out “6” in the picture above.

c. Through your phone via SMS/text :- This is something that I think is great. Unfortunately, I can’t get updates on my phone. For a full list on how you can use Twitter through texting, click here.

d. Through a program in your phone:- I am currently using Twibble for my mobile. Do a google search and you can find a 100 more applications.

e. Update using Google talk or update using e-mail, yadda, yadda.

Got anything else for me?

– Twitter does not have business-plan. This has been admitted by Biz and Evan, founders of Twitter. Read more here

– There is a privacy setting in your options menu, which means that only your followers can read your tweets. Leave it off and the whole world can read what you tweet. Take your pic.

– The smaller the URL the better. When you use Twitter from the homepage, your big URLs are automatically compressed into a tiny url. You can use

Twitpic lets you share photos on Twitter.

– You can delete only your earlier tweets. Hover over your earlier tweet and you can see a trash can. Click it and poof!

– You can favorite tweets that you like, or would like to read later. Hover and click the Star.

– There are some really famous people on Twitter. Britney Spears, Lance Armstrong, Hillary Clinton, Gov. Arnie and more global celebrities , Shashi Taroor, Cyrus Broacha, Aamir Khan, Gul Panag and more Indians.

Happy Tweeting!



Further reading:-

Brent Ozar explains in a lot of detail on the basics of tweeting. The topics are the same, but this is a good read after you have read this post as it gives you some more perspective here

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then indeeed, love would be so pure.

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And there was light

I’d had a bad office day. My sis had given me a long list of items that I was supposed to stuff down my throat to get rid of a bad depression. It was these items that I balanced in my hands as I walked into my building.

My building has two entrances. The main and more commonly used entrance faces the main road. The other entrance faces another building and is rarely used. A few seconds after I’d entered through the main entrance and made my way towards the lift, the door of the opposite entrance swung open. Just as I punched the button for “Up”, a very cute South-East asian girl* walked in. I didn’t remember seeing her before, but after a bad day my mind was moving in slow motion* in any case.

The lift had begun its slow journey from the 9th floor and I was wondering if there was something polite that I could mention to the lady once we got in. My hopes were dashed when, as the lift passed 5, the main door opened* and an Indian guy about my age wearing a green T-shirt walked in and stood to my right. For some reason, I could see the girl out of the corner of my eye on my left, looking at me out of the corner of her eye*.

The lift broke the uneasy silence between us as it Ting-ed and showed us its interiors. The girl got in first and headed to the far left corner. I let the guy pass me and stand near the buttons at the near left. I walked in last and moved into the near right.

He punched 5*. My hands were full so I said to the guy, “Could you please push 4 for me please,4 ?”
He hesitated but then he did. Since the girl was away from the button I waited for her to call her floor. Instead, she stood and stared at the floor.

Like she didn’t know where she wanted to go!

My mind was confused. I almost was about to ask her which floor she wanted to go to, when I noticed the guy staring at his feet as well.



The lift Tinged again at 4. Neither of my journey companions moved. Neither of their of eyes left the floor. I got out.

Everything is Illuminated.

In case you didn’t get it, go back and read again.

Pay attention to the *s.

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