being five

I’m subscribed to this fairly new online comic strip called Being Five because that’s my approximate age. Here’s me today:
Check out the daily strip:

I did it before Facebook did it!

I joined Twitter a couple of weeks ago. (LOL, you may have noticed, if you’re reading this blog.)

Anyhooo… Facebook’s now going to try to “join” Twitter. Their upcoming new design interface (they keep posting “this is happening soon”) is facing up to their serious competition with Twitter, not just for us regular users, but also for business people doing their marketing. According to this March 4/09 article:
“If Facebook cannot buy Twitter, it will try to beat it instead.”

One comment on the same page as that article: “…this may be THE epic battle between uber-startups.”

Tweet me @skyhome!

my personal twitter primer

This may seem like a crazy long post. Sorry. Twitter-brain, that’s me.

I’m posting the list below mainly to have an online handy-dandy set of my own bookmarks for Twitter things I like to use often. If you’re new to Twitter, maybe you will find it helpful too! Bookmark it, and please post a comment if it helps you.


Twitter unveils a whole new world

Article in Leader-Post, Feb 21/09, covers all the basic info, lingo, etc.

10 Top Twitter Tips for Beginners

Ready to jump into Twitter, but don’t know how to get started? Follow these 10 tips and you’ll fit right in.

A Few Twitter Tips

Article in Leader-Post, Feb 21/09

7 Habits of Highly Effective Twitterers

Article by Kris Colvin on the twitter-blog

SEARCH for Tweeps (people to follow)

Mr. Tweet
Personal Networking Assistant

Excellent as a way to start finding people to follow. Mr. Tweet will analyze the kind of folks you already follow, and the kinds of folks those people follow, and outputs a report of who else you might like to follow.

Nearby Tweets

Another way to find people to follow. Enter your address, or a city name, whatever. It will output a list of twitterers who live near that location.


Helps find people to follow. Big list of categories; organizes Twitter into hundreds of niches to make searching easier.


Ask a question

Ask a question; wait for a real person to post the answer. “Get help from employees and tens of thousands of customers.”


If you need to know about a twitter term, try this wiki.

Network Status

Trouble with twitter? Check this status report first to see if it’s a network issue.

READ: waste spend time, find things to read, thinks your Tweeps recommend


A big word cloud for what’s hot on twitter right now. You can link to their page or follow. Their website has a feature where you can enter an ID and see what that person is saying. They also have a cloud widget for your website.

Twitter Search

What if you need to find out what’s happening in the world beyond your personal timeline? Twitter Search helps you filter all the real-time information happening right now on Twitter.
TIP: When you get there, click ‘Advanced Search’ right away. I find that more useful.


Tweetmeme tracks the most popular links on twitter every 5 minutes. (Like TwURLed News, below)

TwURLed News

Kind of like a twitterFeed collector. A news robot constantly updated list of links to explore what people are talking about right NOW. You can subscribe by RSS and/or follow.
(Like TweetMeme, above)

Twitter Games
(that’s a link to the article about the games)

Two Twitter Games That Help Make Your Day Less Boring

@TwitBrain Get served calculations on a regular basis (like 3 per hour). If you’re the first person to reply with the correct answer, you’ll earn one point and hopefully make your way to Internet fame (well, not really) by getting on the top 10 lists.

@BeatMyTweetDo the same thing, but this time with word scrambles. Warning: it’s ridiculously easy so be fast if you want to be one of the first 10 to reply with the correct answer.

MISCELLANEOUS LINKS TO BOOKMARK & keep handy (alpha order)

6 Ways to Make Twitter Useful

Twitter’s usefulness goes far beyond finding out what strangers ate for lunch. Read breaking news, get customer service, or even chat with your favorite celebrities.

TwitSnip Bookmarklet

Save their bookmark to Favorites. It becomes your tool for easily posting stuff from webpages to Twitter. It lets you “quote” text on any web page. It does nifty things like looking up the @user for the website and linking back to the source. It shortens the URL too. It even tries to shorten the length of the tweet (when needed) using a twitabulary of short words.

Twitter Blog

Keep up with what the Twitter-makers want to tell us. Subscribe in your feed reader.

Twitter Counter

Enter your twitter ID and instantly get stats on your twitter experience — # of tweets, # of followers, etc.

Twitter Grader

Enter your ID and they give you a grade for your twittering! Plus some stats, your profile summary, and a TweetCloud of your twitter history. Just fun.

Widgets for your own site



Twitter Remote


Get a customized widget for your web page to display your own latest tweets. Let visitors to your blog or profile page on the web know what you’re up to at the moment:

TwitScoop has a cloud widget for your website.


Get code to put a remote twitter display on your blog, website, etc.

GROUPS of tweeps


Brings people together to form groups with common interests. Read all the tweets from your group on the one page. (Also see hashmarks, above)

See also: What Does the # mean?

Real-time news community. Hashtags ( # ) are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag. If you want to read all the tweets that contain that one topic tag, you go to the URL on the left and either add the tag to the URL (if you know it) or search for a tag there.

Tweet Chat

Monitor and chat about one topic. Works with #hashtags (see above)

Each tweet you make automatically gets a hashtag added for the room you are in – no need to worry about hashtag typos…

The room auto-updates with new posts using the hashtag you are following — no need to reload…

Format to use to link directly to a room:


47 Awesome Twitter Tools

Top Twitter Sites & Services

Top 21 Twitter Clients



If you like the idea of tracking the URLs you share, check this out. The site will

  • shorten your URL for you
  • post it in a tweet
  • track its use from there by your tweeps


How to Use TweetDeck

Currently the #1 application. Good for people who have lots of tweets coming in, because you can organize them into columns, groups, etc.

Helpful article for the beginner.


My personal favorite desktop client (use it full time; hardly ever open my TweetDeck)



when you post links in your tweets


Only 140 characters in a tweet, so you need to shorted the URLs you’re linking to. Try these (in order of my preference):

Best of all: Use a twitter client; they have URL shortening built in. Twhirl, the one I use, results in URLs. — Very short URLs. But even if you have it bookmarked, you have to first copy the URL you want to link to, then go to, then paste the URL to get the shortened version.

TinyURL — I’ve used this for years. I like it because of the toolbar bookmark. When reading a page, I can click the bookmark and TinyURL automatically grabs the URL, shortens it, and gives you the link, all in one click. BUT: for twitter, the URLs are maybe not short enough for you.

snipURL — They too have an auto bookmark. URLs are longer than‘s results.

Here’s a comparison chart of 11 Best URL Shortening Services (according to Online Marketing blog, Jan8/09)

my twitter analogy: twarbucks


What’s twitter like? It’s like you’re sitting by yourself in a coffee shop, surrounded by a community of people.
The role of 17th century coffee shops in creating a civic space and a commensurate sense of ‘public opinion’, and the importance of that for the growth of democracy, has been discussed by historians…” [1]

Twitter is the virtual coffee shop.
  • all around you, conversations
  • snippets reach your ears
  • you can sip slowly or drink it all in quickly
  • sometimes you focus your listening on an interesting snippet
  • sometimes you lean over and add a comment
  • sometimes the noise is too much and you tune out
  • sometimes you make new friends because you contributed to the verbal comm
  • though you may be sitting there “alone” with your laptop getting work done, you’re not alone
  • being there is refreshing, a buzz, a lift in your day
  • if you say something interesting, it will get passed on for the enjoyment of others there
  • you can linger and enjoy the social networking, or you can leave
  • you can be productive while still catching snippets
  • you can stay aloof or participate
  • you’re in touch with familiar strangers
  • you can be & feel anonymous or introduce yourself to any/all
  • you can trust and be trusted, respect and be respected, support and be supported
  • the longer you visit, the more at home you feel
  • the more you participate, the more you become part of the community
  • it quickly becomes part of your daily routine
  • it can get addictive
  • if you’re too busy to go there, it will wait for you. Patiently, too. Absences don’t count; presence is all that’s recorded.
Substitute “twitter” for “coffee shops” in the following (and in any description of a coffee shop).
“Coffee shops, as meeting places, foster the spread of information. This occurs informally, as an inevitable result of gossip and socialising. …As information passes through a social network, which no individual has a complete map of, so coffee shops become part of a system of distributed cognition…” [1]

“Because of its great acceptance in English society, by 1670 there was hardly a street in London without a coffee house. …it became a popular social gathering spot, many of the intellectuals and literati of that era gathered in coffee houses.” [2]

“…coffee houses…served as places for vital communication….Those more interested in radical politics would gather at the Cromwell coffee house and talk of revolution. …Not all talk in the coffee houses were political. …London merchants often spent the day there conducting their business and exchanging news about commerce”. [2]

1: Tom Stafford. Psychology in the coffee shop. July 2003. Retrieved March 4/09 from
2: P. J. Gladnick. Defining intellectual ferment in coffee house culture. 2002. Retrieved on March 4/09 from

why I’m a fan after 1 week trial of twitter

I avoided Twitter. Already updated status on Facebook, why bother. But last week I signed up; needed to know why it’s “the fastest growing social network….” blahblah

Twitter is so NOT just about social networking. It’s my new learning medium. Twitter is a microcosm of the wider virtual world, only everything’s condensed, from message to URLs to writing style. Cleverness and word-creativity abounds with the 140 character limit.

I have learned a huge variety of things on my flights around the twitter world, starting with, of course, how to have fun and learn in the world of twitter. How huge it is. How it’s being used and by whom, from high end business execs to higher education instructors as part of their communication in courses to marketing people (including twitterspam) to governments and politicians to artists and writers and….and on and on.

A large number of software applications surround Twitter. The best are my desktop applications (twhirl and tweetdeck). There are ways to join groups, have group discussions, post photos, audio, video. Adopt a seasoned user as a mentor to help your learning-about-twitter curve.

At first it’s about the art of selecting people to “follow”. (Mr. Tweet is a great help for this.) Then it’s about actually “following”: reading their tweets and going where they link you. If you follow where they lead, you discover a range of new things. Like:
OK, you have an idea now.

Join me on twitter @skyhome because tweets enrich my day & open up my home-based freelancing world to the water cooler part of the workplace.

Social Networking: see how YOU fit in the data

Do you have a profile on FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Yahoo, YouTube, Classmates?

I fall into an “older” demographic, so I found it interesting to read the results of a very recent (Dec.2008) “tracking survey” on adults using social networking sites. (Hey, guyz, who are you callin’ an adult!?) 

“The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8% in 2005 to 35% now.”

PEW/Internet report on Adults and Social Network Websites:
For a quick-look, I’m attaching a copy of their table of data from page 5 of that report.

For my age, I fit in a relatively small 10% group. Yay for me!
(Brian M, sorry, they don’t have stats on addictive behavior at these sites. But they do say that “more than one third (37%) visit their profile daily.”)