By Dusty Overby
on 3.18.09

what-the-hell-is-twitter

In way of full disclosure, I’ll start by saying that I harbor a mild Twitter addiction.  I’m a fairly new user to the service, and I joined up under relentless pressure encouragement from a friend. Before signing up, I peppered him with questions like, “What is Twitter?” and “Why should I care?” He didn’t have any good answers to my questions, instead insisting that I just give it a try.

Fast forward to now. Suddenly,  I’m a bit of a fanatic, evangelizing Twitter myself. Inevitably, I get asked the same types of questions which I’ll try to answer here.

What Is Twitter?

twitter-gear-patrol Twitter began with a simple premise (as most genius ideas do). A fellow named Jack Dorsey simply wanted to know what his friends were doing. Since then, it’s exploded into much more than a series of status updates. It’s now a forum for micro-blogging. Twitter’s usage has grown to around 6 million users, boosting it into 3rd place amongst social networking sites, lagging only behind giants Facebook and MySpace. For me, two aspects of Twitter set it apart from others: simplicity and authenticity.

A post on Twitter is known as a Tweet (cute, I know) and Tweets are limited to 140 characters (not unlike your 160 character text messages). They can accept hyperlinks and they can be tagged with the @ symbol to direct them to a specific Twitter user (Tweep?) or with the # symbol to make them easily search-able. That’s it.

What Can Twitter Do For You?

Simply put, it allows you to relate to others – simply. You follow others whose feed updates (Tweets) you’d like to see. If others want to see your Tweets, they’ll follow you. I often hear the Tweeting erroneously dismissed as little more than a glorified status update. Rather than post droll details about mundane daily tasks, Twitter users tend to share interesting links, innovative thoughts, carry on authentic discussions, and live-blog events.

Even better, my experience has been that the Twitter community has a high degree of respect for authenticity and innovation as well as a very low tolerance for BS (certainly a plus). That’s more than I can say for my day job, sometimes.

Does Gear Patrol Use Twitter?

Yes, and I’d urge you to follow us. It’s one of the best ways that you can interact directly with the GP Crew and, by doing so, you’ll help spread the word about Gear Patrol. We’re just getting started ourselves and we’ll be sharing more of the personal side of Gear Patrol, announcements, post updates, and behind-the-site action.

Follow Some Of Our Crew’s Feeds

Gear Patrol – @gearpatrol
Dusty Overby – @dustyoverby
Ben Bowers – @benbowersgp
Thomas Lord – @ras0ne
Dan Finkelstein – @mynameisfoxtrot

ADVENTURE IS ONE CLICK AWAY

Subscribe to GP for a daily dose of the best in gear, adventure, design, tech and culture. 5pm sharp.