July 28, 2008

Atheist Revolution Tries Twitter

I was initially quite skeptical of Twitter. I figured that I probably would have loved it as a teenager, but I wasn't sure how I would use it now that I don't really have the sort of friends who would want to follow a play-by-play of my activities throughout the day, nor I theirs. But after seeing a handful of other atheist bloggers using the service in different ways, I decided to investigate. It turns out that Twitter may be a useful tool for blog promotion, interacting with readers, getting ideas for posts, and more. I plan to try it for at least a month so that my evaluation of its merit will be sufficiently thorough for others to find informative.

What the heck is Twitter? It is a micro-blogging service that feels something like a blend of IM and blogging. You post "tweets," which are short posts (up to 140 characters), and they are received by users who are following you. You can set up your cell phone to be able to work with the service if you want to be as mobile as possible. You can also add a widget to your blog that will display your tweets. You can see mine on the right sidebar.

If you are brand new to Twitter, as I was as recently as yesterday, here is all you have to do to get set up on this free service:
  1. Sign up for a Twitter account.
  2. Find at least a handful of people you want to follow on Twitter. You can find me at http://twitter.com/vjack and at least a few other atheist bloggers use the service.
  3. While you can post updates (i.e., "tweets") directly from the Twitter websites, there are a variety of plug-ins for your favorite browser and small desktop apps that make the process a bit more flexible. You can download and install a variety from Twitter's downloads page.
This will get you up and running. If you want to learn more about how Twitter can help your blogging efforts, I encourage you to read ProBlogger's post on the subject.

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