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Old 12-11-2010, 01:14 PM   #21
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Couldn´t get interested in Facebook, either. I, too prefer mailing, IMing etc.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
It sounds like the ultimate "ignore list", in a sense, since you only follow those whose posts you want to read.
That's a good way of putting it, but it also allows and encourages finding new people and/or topics.

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I liked your story of how you figured why a host's server was down by searching for hashtags and then monitoring all the real-time tweets about the actual reason the host hadn't brought it back up yet. Twitter is the best network I've ever seen for that sort of issue, and the closest thing to it would be IRC. There's no way that reporting could have kept up over a discussion board or even FB. Even IRC wouldn't be able to handle the traffic.

That host probably had their own Twitter feed, but if they'd used it to tell the truth from the start then they wouldn't have been so badly busted by all their followers. Not the kind of reputation you want associated with your own hashtag...
Yeah, I posted that story elsewhere, so I'll rehash it here. I was making some carefully-tested changes to someone else's website when the whole website quit working...and two or three other websites on the same account. I couldn't get any response via web, FTP or ping. So I checked the host's website, and they had a status check for the server which reported it was fine, and even had a recent timestamp that updated through my troubleshooting over the next hour or two. The host's phone support and sales lines were constantly busy, and the support chat function failed. I start to suspect something bigger is happening, but that status page says the server is up. I continued with all the tricks in my book and determined on my own that a lot of web servers at that data center were unresponsive, but I had no idea why...is this a network outage, a data center issue, a denial-of-service attack...? It took over two hours for it to occur to me to try the new media, and I searched Twitter for the name of the web server host. Bingo. Many, many customers were tweeting that their websites were down and they couldn't reach support. They were using the #hostcompanyname hashtag to track the conversation. Someone learned that there were two power transformers that exploded near the data center and that the data center was without power. After finding that out I was able to go to that locale's news sites and verify the explosions.

So the moral is all my geeky tricks were nothing compared to the power of a network of diverse, previously unrelated people able to instantly congregate and discover the extent and cause of the problem. The host company who had been unable to cope with the support calls and also apparently unable to update their websites' status reports properly in the course of a mini-disaster signed up on Twitter, confirm the outage and explosions and posted some BS about that the power company asked them not to run on battery backup while they completed repairs. They then tweeted regularly with updates and estimated times to repair. Their own support site was useless, and their support phones were slammed. Twitter allowed the customer to deduce much among themselves and then allowed the company to provide updates. Actually I doubt the company would have started their Twitter feed if it wasn't for dozens or hundreds of their customers finding each other and griping about their outage and lack of service.

And I didn't follow anybody new. The hashtag allowed me to follow the conversation while it was of interest to me.

I think I'll spam a few more posts about my Twitter usage. I don't get commissions for Twitter use, but i've made the transition from "don't get it" to "get it (at least partially)", so I'll try to explain it for the other "get off my lawn" and "those crazy kids" folks.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:17 PM   #23
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I add hashtags to the tweets from my blog posts in the hope that other readers of those hashtags will find the blog and other military ER topics. But hashtags right now are about where Usenet was in 1998.
I have to disagree. Usenet (and this forum) are hierarchically structured topic categories. Hashtags are freeform labels. Usenet and this forum are like a TV or radio where you change channels, or perhaps a CD where you put the CD in and then pick the track you want to hear. Hashtags are searches for topic labels that update in real-time.

For example, on this forum there are several boards, but when I come by I usually just look at FIRE and Money, Young Dreamers and Other Topics. If I post something, it has to be in one of a few boards, and it can't be in more than one. And if I post in Young Dreamers about my favorite bacon recipe, someone reading about bacon in Other Topics might not see it. In Twitter you're just posting to those who are following you, those who might find you in a search, and if you add #bacon your post will show up under that hashtag while still going out to your followers and any other hashtags in the tweet.

And a hashtag is a freeform construct. There aren't predefined hashtags. Anybody can put #anyword in their tweet, and in the usenet/forum analogy create a new board. But a more apt analogy might be a saved search, although a search would find any use of "anyword" where the hashtag finds only tweets where the person has used the hash #anyword.

You might develop a conversation over the hashtag, find a new person to follow, perhaps just see tweets of a similar topic, or perhaps it's the latest popular meme. Today's trending Twitter memes seem to be #imsoglad and #ifsantawasblack . My twitter homepage shows trending memes, and sometimes one or more of the people I follow will participate in a meme.

You're using Twitter as an announce feed and using the hashtags to get the message out further. That is fine, and I am glad you got that far after your initial reluctance. But I think if you started tweeting some conversational tweets you would get more followers and interest and ultimately attention to the blog and book.

Examples:

Quote:
Daughter says might forgo #SeaBees in favor of #CommandAtSea . #MilitaryLife #Navy http://bit.ly/gFi6Db
Um, okay, at first glance that looks like one of your announce posts, but it started off as "Daughter says might forgo SeaBees in favor of COMMAND AT SEA", then I added the #MilitaryLife and #Navy hashtags since they seemed appropriate topics that might have interest in such a tweet. Then I thought SeaBees might be a focused enough interest to deserve its own hashtag and found two existing tweets there already, so I made SeaBees a hashtag. Then I thought command at sea might be a starting point for further discussion, so I hashtagged that even though there are no preexisting tweets there. Then I decided since there is already a discussion in progress at this forum that I'd add the (shortened) link to that post. I've clearly overworked this tweet to highlight some Twitter features, but even "Daughter says might forgo SeaBees in favor of COMMAND AT SEA" without links or hashtags would have been worth tweeting as it could generate personal interest, possibly followers, possibly people looking at the profile and following it to your blog. And I think generally too many hashtags can be bad form, but on this particular tweet I think all the hashtags are justifiable.

Quote:
Desk mapping real? Just read book where EAs remove-restore papers in exact place on desk for admiral. This true? #MilitaryLife #Navy
On this one I just had to compose to ask the question in under 140 characters, then added the military tags. I thought about hashtagging "desk mapping" to #DeskMapping, but I don't really see it becoming a conversation or particularly interesting topic. And if it does, I can always start using #DeskMapping later.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:45 PM   #24
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On my real-name Twitter account I follow my sister and brother, some comedians, the Whitehouse, Barack Obama and some other miscellaneous people. My sister is semi-chatty and tweets about the kids' cuteness, but not too much and I only have one niece and two nephews, so I want to hear that stuff and see the kid pics, anyway.

@SteveMartinToGo goes through posting spurts where he drowns out my other tweets, but not too often and not too much. (@alyankovic is measured, concise and funny, though.) @ebertchicago, though, is a motormouth and floods my twitter feed if I follow him, but I like reading him, so I created a list and follow him in the list. Now my main twitter feed has the speed and content I am comfortable with, but I can switch over to my "chatty" list to read Ebert and a couple of other avid tweeters.

ESPN Dallas has several people who tweet, and while I don't want them on my feed all the time I like to check on them now and then, so I have a sports list that follows my favorite sports tweeters.

Lists can be public or private. My BigMoneyJim twitter account follows @TheMilitaryGuid (Nords), @bogleheads, @Vanguard_Group and @AssetBuilder (Scott Burns, former syndicated columnist). Vanguard and AssetBuilder post at least daily, and the other two are low-volume enough that they get flooded out, and while I'm semi-interested in Vanguard and AssetBuilder I don't keep up with them as much, so I put them in a list. I made the list public, so you can see my list at http://twitter.com/BigMoneyJim/money. Not that it's worth checking out, it's just a demonstration of being able to create a list that others might find useful and use.

For games it's sometimes fun to see what others are saying, so I'll occasionally check on #Cowboys, #DallasCowboys, #NFL or #TexasRangers. Um, holy crap, while checking that feed I'm seeing tweets that Cliff Lee is signing with Texas today. Got to go hit the news sites to verify that.... I was about done with this post, anyway. The point of this paragraph was that you can visit topics without following them. Could be handy for sports, politics, knitting, whatever.

EDIT: Oh, all the tweets were from the same guy claiming it's "official". Can't find any confirmation. Just one spastic nobody on Twitter. Nevermind. (Re: Cliff Lee / Texas Rangers)
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:04 PM   #25
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I tech produce a small live-broadcast web show, and most of the audience is on Twitter, so we use a #showname hashtag for audience feedback during the show. I also monitor people tweeting to or mentioning the show stars ( @twittername ) before and during the show. And of course we announce the show and show interesting happenings while providing the link to the broadcast and the show hashtag.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:27 PM   #26
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#TexasRangers. Um, holy crap, while checking that feed I'm seeing tweets that Cliff Lee is signing with Texas today. Got to go hit the news sites to verify that....

[...]

EDIT: Oh, all the tweets were from the same guy claiming it's "official". Can't find any confirmation. Just one spastic nobody on Twitter. Nevermind. (Re: Cliff Lee / Texas Rangers)
If the Rangers announce a $155 million 7-year deal with Cliff Lee at 5:45pm CST, then some nobody on Twitter scooped pretty much everybody. On the other hand, I think I may be seeing the start of a feedback loop as someone else has tweeted that a TV station in Killeen is reporting the same, and one of the local ESPN reporters has tweeted his skepticism about this given the lack of confirmation, but at the same time that gives the false(?) details many more eyeballs. The speed of Twitter can spread news—false or true—quickly.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:48 AM   #27
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I have to disagree. Usenet (and this forum) are hierarchically structured topic categories. Hashtags are freeform labels. Usenet and this forum are like a TV or radio where you change channels, or perhaps a CD where you put the CD in and then pick the track you want to hear. Hashtags are searches for topic labels that update in real-time.
You make good points. The freeform aspect is great.

I guess my biggest problem with hashtags is finding out what others are using and then jumping aboard their bandwagon. For example you can search for "military" on Hashtags.org or Twitter, but that won't necessarily get you to "MilitaryMon" or "SOT" or any of the other terms that either contain the letters "military" or are related to military topics.

There may be a lot of great military-related hashtags out there, but I'd have to think of them and then go looking for them. I'd also have to sign up to follow a bunch of military-related Tweeters but... hey, I'm writing a blog, not reading everyone else's. I haven't fully resolved that latter conflict.

I'm still picking off the hashtags as I go, and you're right-- I'm spewing out #s all over the place when I compose the Tweet to go with the blog post. Luckily it's freeform and there are no #etiquette #police...
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:57 AM   #28
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I guess my biggest problem with hashtags is finding out what others are using and then jumping aboard their bandwagon. For example you can search for "military" on Hashtags.org or Twitter, but that won't necessarily get you to "MilitaryMon" or "SOT" or any of the other terms that either contain the letters "military" or are related to military topics.

There may be a lot of great military-related hashtags out there, but I'd have to think of them and then go looking for them. I'd also have to sign up to follow a bunch of military-related Tweeters but... hey, I'm writing a blog, not reading everyone else's. I haven't fully resolved that latter conflict.

I'm still picking off the hashtags as I go, and you're right-- I'm spewing out #s all over the place when I compose the Tweet to go with the blog post. Luckily it's freeform and there are no #etiquette #police...
As far as I can tell, wading in and jumping on the bandwagon is largely the way to go. Hashtags are emergent and not necessarily stable (in terms of use and interest), although #MilitaryMon and #SOT appear to have longevity.

I mostly discover hashtags through others' tweets. Perhaps it's someone I follow, or perhaps I was looking at a hashtag list and saw a tweet with a related—or interesting unrelated—hashtag.

Tonight I was watching the Indiana Jones movies on cable at my sister's house and for the heck of it tweeted a couple of my favorite lines and blindly added #IndianaJones and #LastCrusade . Afterward I clicked on them and was surprised to see they were both very active. Apparently a bunch of people were also watching the marathon on the USA network and were tweeting about it.

You could also just search on some keywords and look for existing relevant hashtags in the results list.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:09 PM   #29
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BigMoneyJim & Nords - THANK YOU! I understand Twitter so much better now. I re-registered.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:59 PM   #30
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BigMoneyJim & Nords - THANK YOU! I understand Twitter so much better now. I re-registered.
+1
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:27 PM   #31
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Ditto that--I never "got" twitter until your explanation BMJ. Thank you so much!
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:23 PM   #32
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No Twitter. No Facebook. No interest in either. Bah Humbug.

This is the only forum I participate in. I guess I got so burned out from being parked in front of a computer every day for over 25 years in my career, I minimize my online time these days. Enough is enough.

If I want to keep in touch, I use the telephone.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:10 PM   #33
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Maybe I'm just getting old, but between e-mail, texting, monitoring a few forums, online banking, online investing, TIVO, XM Radio, Net Flix and doing more and more of it on my phone, I feel like I have just about enough technology in my life. Plus, I was reminded a few weeks ago by my Son that there will be no "friending" with him on FB! I'm holding out at this point. No FB or Twitter for me......for now.
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:01 AM   #34
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BigMoneyJim & Nords - THANK YOU! I understand Twitter so much better now. I re-registered.
+2

I joined Twitter this evening. Still finding my way, but I plan to stick with it until I "get it." Anyone know of a good tutorial online? There doesn't seem to be one on twitter.com so I am wading through youtube videos, though so far they are extremely basic.

Never a dull moment, a good thing!
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:45 AM   #35
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BMJ - thanks for explaining - someone once told me Twitter was like CB radio....it looks like each person has an area to tweet their thoughts (mini-website sort of) and then there are specific threads which are denoted by the hashtags, which have their own space as well. So you can subscribe to a tweeter as well as follow a hashtag or thread. Hmmm - I may try this - we'll see. I spend way to much time in front of this virtual world window as it is.....
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