Perhaps signaling the imminent demise of Twitter, the Wall Street Journal has posted a guide for using it. The guide runs 1,200 words and does a good job of explaining why this is something you may not want to bother with. Whenever I see the phrase "social-networking tool," my eyes glaze over.
Not that I mind Twitter. I've been on it for a couple of months. I now follow 13 people. I am being followed by 33, which is weird because my "updates" tend to be non sequiturs, and infrequent enough to render my ranking just short of nonexistent. I never look at my Twitter ranking, of course. I'm much too cool for that.
My own guide for using Twitter is this: Don't follow anyone you haven't had dinner with. But know that following friends will make you immediately and exquisitely aware of every party to which you've not been invited. Finally, while it's easy to follow someone, it's not so simple to quit. Thanks to a dopey service called Qwitter, anyone you discard can be instantly notified of the fact. Thanks, Twitter! Building strong relationships, and ruining them too!
I'd add a few guidelines for what makes a good Twitter post, but unfortunately I have no idea. Mine run to to unfocused musings that are not very clever and vanish into the Tweetosphere like little farts in the wind. I see a lot of updates about about dining out, or funny things the kids say, or traveling, or plans for the holidays. Over Thanksgiving, one guy appeared to be Tweeting right at the dinner table, mocking his dotty relatives while shoveling in the mashed potatoes. It's only 140 characters; what you lose in sober reflection you gain in spontaneity.
Want to follow me? I didn't think so. But daaronk is the name and Tweeting's my game. I don't use Qwitter, either. So we'll both be spared the pain.