How Did You First Learn of Twitter?

In a post yesterday, I got thinking about the first time I heard about blogging (and Blogger). I’m wondering, how did you first hear about Twitter? What got you posting?

According to popular lore, many people were first exposed to Twitter in April 2008, when a freelance journalist arrested while covering a demo in Egypt used his friends to alert the State Department, which quickly obtained his release. Ari Herzog (he hit the Twitter Elite for at least part of today) tells me he first started using the microblogging service as part of a local movie club he belonged to, using SMS messages to connect.

I first heard of Twitter while investigating the Christmas 2007 tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. In early 2008, I was reviewing phone records and notices a bunch of SMS entries. Turns out they were Twitter messages.

I heard the Egyptian jail Twitter story on NPR, and in the latter half ot 2008 opened an account. I became active on Twitter during the Obama campaign, live blogging debates and such. My participation with GovLoop, the social network for Government 2.0, changed my usage as I met many innovative Twitter users, including Herzog.

One of the best descriptions of why I like Twitter I will borrow from the crowd there: “Twitter is about people you want to know better.”

How about you?

11 thoughts on “How Did You First Learn of Twitter?

  1. The first time: my niece was talking to a friend on Twitter. I thought it was some new text messaging service. Then I thought of it no more until I joined govloop.

    I joined govloop because I was shooting my mouth off about how our city could use social networking to communicate and make our services more efficient and responsive. However, I was not participating. I thought I better try it before pitching it.

    I’m glad I did. My life has more depth and is richer for the thoughts (and people) that I encounter online. Both on Twitter and on networking sites. Blogs are always my favorites. This thinking business is addicting.

  2. What feels like a million years ago (late 2007 I think) I was reading a blog about social networking sites where Twitter was mentioned. I created an account so I could see what it was all about. I sat and starred at the blank page & waited for something interesting to happen. Nothing did. I didn’t know anyone on Twitter, hence no follows. I shrugged it off. Then about a year ago I started writing a column for a music site, and they were on Twitter and when they started following me I followed back. I started following people from their list of followers and got followers in return. It just grew and grew from there. A few months ago I got turned on to Twittermoms, and it really snowballed from there.

    It’s opened a whole world for me and I’m very pleased with the connections I’ve made both personally and professionally.

  3. I was doing research for work on blogging, and was trying to come up with a simple definition/description to use in a slide show. Totally copped out and Wikipedia’d it, and in the description, it mentioned micro-blogging, using Twitter as an example. I’d heard of Twitter before, but never really investigated what it was and, being the new media person at work, figured I should know.

    My first impression was that Twitter could be powerful because of its portability on other devices like cell phones – imagine being able to reach anybody, anywhere in the world for free. But then I read a Global Voices Online post, and I thought its world-reaching purpose was undermined: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/08/17/egypt-farewell-twitter-sms/

    It was actually that blog post that prompted me to actually join up. So I did, and started Twittering, and realized it was nothing at all like what the Wikipedia description had of it; it had the potential to be much, much more.

  4. I first heard about Twitter when it was introduced as the cool new gizmo at SXSW in 07. Not saying I was so cool as to jump right in–didn’t get my own account until Jan 08. Hey, it’s just past my Twitter 1 year anniversary.

  5. I first heard of twitter back when it was just a little project out of Odeo, but didn’t realize its potential – at the time, it was just tech geeks and not much else.

    Actually, I’m just going to blog my first twitter experiences, because now that I think of them, they’re super cool!

  6. Pingback:   How I First Learned Of Twitter! by Anthony Brown

  7. I think I probably first learned about Twitter back in late-2007. As a PR professional, I regularly track new technologies and communications tools, and I believe I read about it on a tech. industry web site (can’t remember which one).

    However, I didn’t start Tweeting myself until mid-2008. Now I’m hooked!

  8. I’ve known about Twitter for a long time…I like to follow all the tech news. Tried it once before, for a day, but had nothing to say (but I wasn’t listening either). Deleted the account. Got back on less than a month ago because of the ability to connect with others interested in social media, but also because my organization is looking into using Twitter as a way to engage in discussion on certain topics of interest…and you need a strategy to do that. Doesn’t make sense to develop a strategy if you don’t actually use it. I can honestly say that I’m now addicted and absolutely love it.

    The conversations…great.
    The knowledge…powerful.
    The value…priceless.

  9. I remember hearing about Twitter when it first came on line thinking – who the hell wants to know what I am doing 24/7? Now I find myself leading the charge for my company to jump into the social media frenzy and am exploring ways to utilize Twitter as a public involvement engagement tool for planning and transportation projects. It’s funny how something that initially sounded ridiculously useless, now seems to have endless possibilities.

  10. My first real experience with Twitter was about a year ago. Prior to that I had heard of it, but had never seen it in action. I thought based upon the descriptions it didn’t have much value. I also wasn’t sure how I would use it let alone my government agency.

    I was forced to jump in when I was participating in the Web 2.0 Expo last year. They were sending messages to the crowd about important things like when the keynotes were kicking off and where the networking events were going to be. The interesting thing for me was nobody turned to others and said, “did you see that tweet that they are now serving beer in the exhibit hall?” They don’t talk about it. Everyone just got the message and made their own decision from there. Obviously you are either in the loop or out of the loop. Very powerful lesson

    I still didn’t know much about Twitter even from that brief experience. I knew there had to be much more to it since all of these fairly intelligent people were using and liking it. I came back to the office talking about it and continued researching and experimenting with it even though most of my office thought I was crazy. Even now some don’t get it.

    In the mean time, I’ve become much better at tweeting and using Twitter in all sorts of ways I never would have imagined before. Although my organization may still think I am crazy, they don’t balk as badly when they hear me talk about Twitter or when another colleague outs themselves and admits they are there too. I am constantly finding new reasons to value Twitter and now I teach others how to discover that value too. I’ve come a long ways in just over a year!

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