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"Tweets" the latest big thing for online communities

"Tweets" the latest big thing for online communities

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Move over Facebook, a so-called microblog site called Twitter is catching on, especially with businesses.

Just like Google, Twitter is changing the way some people, like Jonathan Bacon of Politis Communication, talk. Twitter simply asks, "What are you doing? Your answer, or "tweet", can be only 140 characters long.

Users follow other tweeters, and try to get some followers of their own. Janet Meiners-Thaeler, aka "Newspapergirl", says it's one thing to have a Facebook friend, but it's quite another to gain followers. "It's kind of like an ego trip that you get these e-mails that someone else is following what you're saying, that they care that you're saying," she said.

But Meiners-Thaeler mostly uses Twitter to reach out to potential new clients, lots of them. She runs a marketing business and says Twitter offers potential clients a more personal look. And like word of mouth in the old days, "Tweets" about her work have driven more business her way.

Meiners-Thaeler's advice to new users is to get online and listen for a while before deciding to tweet away on your own. Twitter has grown to more than 6 million users in the past three years.

There are Twitter communities, like "Twitter-moms". Sometimes they choose to "tweet-up", or meet-up. Twitter groups have regular meetings.

Twitter is also generating other software applications designed to help people follow and be followed. And Web sites are cropping up, offering glossaries and advice on how to use the service.


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Marc Giauque


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