Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

What are twitter and hashtags?

With the explosion in social networking and the associated plethora of websites, not to mention the almost insurmountable technobabble, I thought I might spend a few moments explaining some of these things. Well, I haven’t got anything else to do while on the train!

Simply put twitter is a website for microblogging just like wordpress is a website for blogging. Microblogging is writing small sentences describing what you’re up to. You can see my twitter microblog here. Entries on it are called tweets. In fact you can also see my tweets on this blog over on the right.

As a twitter user you can choose to follow another user to see what your friends are microblogging/tweeting. All of this stuff can be subscribed to using rss of course, in fact that’s how I get my tweets on this blog. If you’ve got a facebook account you can even have twitter update your facebook status with your tweets. People can even subscribe to have your tweets as text messages!

Hashtags are a way of keeping track of a twitter conversation rather than just a particular user, for example the #rsdc hashtag.

If users follow a pretend user called “hashtags” then their tweets about various topics can be tracked to produce stats and graphs like this:

#rsdc graph

Personally I use a service called hellotxt from either the web or my mobile phone to update twitter and therefore this blog (through the feed on the right) and my facebook status all in one, not to mention any one subscribed to any of the above via rss.

Oh yeah and all this stuff is free 😀


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