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Twitter 101

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You’ve probably heard about Twitter, but may be afraid to ask exactly what it is and why anyone would use it. True, tweeting is in some ways just another internet vehicle to waste an inordinate amount of time, but it’s also a way to be more engaged in the Jewish community without leaving your laptop. (But don’t be a loser, leave your laptop).

First, some vocabulary.

Twitter: the company that runs the service in which users blog in 140 letters or less: twitter.com

Tweet: the 140 letter or less microblog that often includes links to a longer blog, video clips, photos or articles

Tweeter: one who tweets.

Name: name on twitter

Twitter Feed: Tweets that you see because you subscribe to their Tweeter

Follower: someone who subscribes to another person’s tweets

RT: when you retweet someone else’s tweet. You give the original person credit by putting the RT next to the username. Example: RT @OyChicago

TweetUp: a meeting between two or more tweeters in person.

Twitterverse: All the people who tweet. Stupid term used by classical media often said, “So Jerry, what is the twitterverse saying.”

Trending topics: topics that many Tweeters are talking about demarcated by a hashtag #. Example #Cutler was sacked again.

Twitter Platform: Companies that run the Twitter Service. The best analogy is you have a gmail account but check your email through Microsoft office.

There’s more to know, believe it or not, but this will get you started. Now, how can twitter make you a more engaged Jew? Jewish organizations, professionals and just members of the tribe often tweet Jewishly. They tweet about Israel, Judaism, Jewish conferences, Jewish events, anti-Semitism, Jewish food, etc. Although there is a time-suck element, I have learned a tremendous amount from Twitter and have been exposed to ideas and opinions that I would never have come across through my other virtual and live networks.

While twitter has not made me an entirely better person (I also follow some celebrities and cartoon characters) it has served to develop me as Jewish professional and member of the Jewish community. To see who I follow in the Jewish community, click here: http://twitter.com/#!/scarpetablog/jewy and to see what Oy!Chicago is up to on Twitter, click here: http://twitter.com/#!/OyChicago

Now it’s your turn. Tweet away!

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