Sunday, December 20, 2009

Listing helps manage Twitter feed

Responding to some Twitter accounts’ demonstrated interest in tracking Calistoga Junior/Senior High School alumni, I prepared an overview of Twitter for the alumni newsletter.

I reprint it here in the interest of sharing it with a wider readership:

Twitter is a Web site that allows users to distribute short messages to large groups of other Twitter users. Each Twitter post, or “Tweet,” must be no longer than 140 characters. To receive updates from a given Twitter feed, readers sign-up to be “followers” of that feed. Twitter users may view received messages on their cell phone or by logging in to their Twitter account through Twitter’s Web site.

Twitter users can reply, using the @ symbol, or can refer to another user when composing their own posts. For example, if another user is replying or refering to me, he or she uses @cynthiaparkhill.

Some users additionally use “tags,” relevant key words, to make their posts searchable by topic. These are formed by adding the # symbol directly preceding a key word in the Tweet. #calistoga is one example of a tag. On any given day, a display of “trending topics” will give users an idea of what other users are tweeting about.

Twitter recently introduced a “lists” capability that allows users to conveniently group the feeds that they have chosen to subscribe to. Lists are identified by the name of the Twitter user who created the list and the subject to which the list relates. For example, a number of lists have been set up to follow Calistoga locals. Some of these lists include:

@CafeSarafornia/locals -- Following: 43 users; Followers: 1
@CalistogaNEWS/locals -- Following: 38 users; Followers: 2
@Calistogan/locals -- Following: 38 users; Followers: 3
@CalistogaWater/locals -- Following: 32 users; Followers: 2
@CalistogaDaySpa/locals -- Following: 35 users; Followers: 4
@CalistogaSpa/locals -- Following: 30 users; Followers: 5
@CalistogaInn/locals -- Following: 47 users; Followers: 7
@Calistoga/locals -- Following: 65 users; Followers: 8

List statistics were current as of Dec. 20, 2009.

-- Cynthia Parkhill, ’86 (

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