So I thought I would provide a quick explanation to all my Facebook friends who might not be able to understand my constantly changing status What you may or may not know is that most of my status changes come from my Twitter account and I am not actually logged into Facebook when you receive my status update. In fact, I am usually updating Twitter from my iPhone as I wait for an appointment or am riding the metro.
Twitter is, or was, a lot different than Facebook. That was until recently. Most of us Twitter users attribute the latest Facebook changes to them trying to emulate Twitter. Anyway, for me, Facebook has been a way to find old friends and catch up. Twitter, on the other hand, has been about making new friends and having dialogs about common interests. It is easier to learn a little bit about someone on Twitter before you decide to follow their ‘Tweets’. A feature that I feel is missing on Facebook. There you often need a little more info in order to discern whether that is the ‘John Smith’ that you actually went to high school with.
Many are confused as to what Twitter actually is. To be honest, so was I three months ago. The best way I know how to describe it is a big open pool of thousands of constantly flowing text messages. Now you can sit and read all those Tweets (140 character messages) but I would personally go crazy. What most people do is pick the people that you want to ‘Follow’ and only read those messages. It is real easy to ‘follow’ and ‘unfollow’ as you weed through those you want to interact with.
The main issue I wanted to clarify is why the Facebook status updates look the way they do when they come from Twitter users. What you actually see is what is called a ‘Tweet’ by Twitter users. I know, I know, I didn’t make up these names. They have a bird on their logo. Because they are limited to 140 characters, Twitter users have come up with a code of their own. Some, to be honest, are hard to decipher. Here are a few clues to help you out:
RT stands for ‘retweet’. This is like forwarding a message that you find interesting, funny, etc. to your set of friends. Another way this is done is by using ‘via’ and that tells you who sent the message first.
# is used to denote a hashtag. This is a way to enable you to search for tweets related to a certain subject like #coffee. By putting #coffee in the twitter search engine you can see what a lot of people are sharing on the subject.
@ is another symbol that you will see often. It is placed behind someones user name, like @Crosscultural (which is me), to reply to some comment that they just made. It also makes it easier to see who is sharing your comments with others.
The last thing I wanted to mention is why certain links look funny or suspicious. This is because of the 140 character limit set for each tweet. There are now many ways to shorten the length to the link you want to share.
More than you wanted to know, I am sure Much longer post than I meant it to be. Hopefully this helps you understand why my status updates look so weird. Let me know if you have any questions.