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If you don't know anything about the microblogging phenomenon called Twitter, it's about time you started. The idea behind microblogging is that you summarize your thoughts in 140 characters or less -- you're actually limited to the space available. Blogs with 250 word minimums need not apply.

Twitter has taken off ever since its launch in 2006. And for good reason. Twitter is a social network unlike any other. Here's why you need to make Twitter one of your must-visited websites.

  1. Twitter lets you communicate and network with like-minded individuals: Ever since I joined, I found people passionate about topics I loved. I met folks in internet marketing, social media, blogging, productivity, and then some. I've even received job offers from Twitter!
  2. Twitter has an awesome API: There are some super applications that are built on Twitter, including my favorite, twhirl, an Adobe AIR application that lets you access Twitter without the web interface. Other cool Twitter tools include Twitter Buzz, which gives you the most popular links on Twitter, and TwitterVision, which provides you with a global view of Twitter users in real time. There are hundreds of other tools just like those.
  3. Twitter is mobile: You can send an SMS message to the Twitter phone number to update your friends on your everyday whereabouts, and people who subscribe to you will get instant notifications wherever they are.
  4. Twitter keeps you up to date on the news: Two months ago, I blogged about Twitter and acknowledged that Twitter is where I first found out about Heath Ledger's death. That's right. I didn't hear it from my friends via IM. I didn't get it from CNN.com. I didn't get it from a social news site like Digg, either. Twitter was where the news came from, and whoa, the news spreads fast.
  5. Ask questions, get answers in real time: My favorite part about Twitter is the ability to get answers really quickly to any question you have. You can even track the conversation later using a tool such as Quotably. Check out how many people responded to my question about Linux servers just yesterday.

There's a lot more to Twitter, but you need to figure it out on your own. I have to say, though, that it totally rocks, and if you're not part of the crowd, you're missing out.

If you've taken the plunge and want to follow my updates, my Twitter account is here.

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Last Post by tamar
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Twitter, like all "social networking" sites, is a major waste of time and a great way for computer criminals and spammers to select their victims.

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I have to say, jwenting, that I absolutely disagree with you. You need to use it effectively. Look at my profile here: http://twitter.com/tamar

Does it look like I'm wasting time or obtaining information? Does it look like I'm spamming?

If you're finding it a complete waste of time, it looks like you haven't networked with the right people.

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