When a small group in separate locations is working together on a project they miss out on the camaraderie and instant feedback available when they’re all in the same room. Often they try to use email to make up the lack.
Email’s too slow
The days when we compared email to letters and found email quick are long gone. Now we compare email to Instant Messaging, txting and Twitter and it seems oh so slow, oh so 1900s.
In 2008 the free service provided by Twitter is the surprise entrant in helping groups collaborate.
Twitter is a free service that lets you send and receive short messages via web page, free software for your computer or iPhone, via Instant Messaging, or via SMS on your cellphone. Messages, known as ‘tweets’ are available instantly.
Sign up for Twitter
To sign up provide a username, password and email address. For example, my Twitter username is Miraz. When I sign in to the Twitter home page I’m taken to my Twitter page.
There’s also a big ‘Join’ button on that page, if you’d like to join up.
Protected updates keep messages private
Visit that page and you can see what I’ve been saying recently. That’s because I let the world see my ‘updates’. If I wanted to, I could make them private. If my updates were ‘protected’ you’d have to ask me to authorise you to view them.
That’s where the group support comes in. Sign up and protect your updates by choosing Settings > Account > Protect my updates.
Then have your colleagues sign up and protect their updates. Authorise one another (it only takes one click). Now you can discuss anything you like and only group members see the messages.
If you’d like to experiment, I’ve set up a protected Twitter user called KitD. Request authorisation and start experimenting.
An extended tutorial, with pictures
I hope to make an extended tutorial available in a PDF soon. Keep an eye on this personal blog to find out when it’s ready.
Twitter does more
That’s not the end of Twitter: it has many facets. A future Tip will explain more. Meanwhile, if you try Twitter, please add your comments to this post.
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, September 2008. This article may have been modified for publication here.