Most students have probably heard of Facebook. Most students have probably got accounts. Twitter, on the other hand, may be new to you. It’s been around for a few years, and fans of Stephen Fry may have heard it mentioned a couple of times, but it’s only this year that it’s really taking off in the UK.
So, what is Twitter? If you have a Facebook account, the easiest way to imagine it is as a “Facebook Status” without any of the rest of Facebook attached to it. If you aren’t on Facebook, it may sound even stranger to your ears. Twitter allows users to post a message, up to 144 characters, on the internet. It also allows them to follow the messages that other people post. Some people post messages every few minutes, about every detail of their lives. If, for example, you want to know what goes on in the mind of Neil Gaiman at airports, or which swearwords Stephen Fry uses when stuck in an elevator (warning, contains swearing), you can find out through Twitter by “following” their updates. Others use Twitter as a way to have debates, or organise events, or for completely different purposes.
Some people call it a micro-blogging service, because that’s one way to use it. More than blogs, though, Twitter is about conversations. You will often see someone post a message that begins with @some_username – which means it is a direct reply to a comment made by someone else. There is an entire Twitter syntax building up, not unlike the way txtspeak spread amongst SMS aficionados.
Quite often, these conversations do not take place through computers, but through mobile phones. You can set up Twitter so you can post your tweets as text message – and you can even set it up to receive messages when your friends tweet. (To tweet is the verb for the act of posting a message on your twitter feed.)
So, what does Twitter have to do with Glamlife? Glamlife has a Twitter account, which is set up to automatically post any “Announcements” you might see on the front page of Glamlife on Twitter. This includes announcements for all faculties, so if you subscribe to the Glamlife Twitter feed, you might hear about more lecture cancellations than just the ones in your faculty. On the other hand, you can use your Twitter account to send messages to your mobile phone, which may be a handy way to find out whether you need to travel into campus or not without having to be at a PC with a web connection. And if the University is closed because of bad weather, you’ll be the first to know…
On a similar note, Glamlife also has a Facebook Page. If you are on Facebook, you can use our page to leave feedback or discuss issues / ideas related to the site, if you prefer that method to emailing us(firstname.lastname@example.org), filling in feedback forms, or posting comments on the blog.
As always, let us know your views!