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Behind the Tweets: a window into my life
hockey; buffalo sabres logo
Associate Sports Editor

Twitter is one of the newest social networking sites – but don’t be fooled, it’s not simply a replica of MySpace or Facebook.

Twitter is anything and everything you want it to be.For those who don’t know, the basic premise of Twitter is to answer the question: “What’s happening?”

Users are allowed 140 characters per message (“tweet”), and can answer the question any way they want.

It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Tell the world what you’re doing – going to class or work, heading to a bar with your friends, or staying home to watch a Sabres game.

In reality, Twitter is much more than that.

Sure, you can update and tell your followers (the people who track your updates) what you’re doing.

But Twitter can also be used to express opinions, blurt out random thoughts, have conversations with people, and share photos and videos.

See something interesting on the news? Tweet your thoughts about it, and you might get feedback from friends or professionals on the subject.

Read a good book lately? Tell your friends about it in 140 characters or less.Twitter is completely customizable.

Unlike Facebook, a friendship can be a one-way street. For instance, you can get someone’s updates in your Twitter feed (“follow” them), but they don’t have to get your updates, or vice versa.

Users can also make their Twitter private, allowing only confirmed users to receive your updates. This can prevent spam users from receiving your updates.

Twitter is connected to several partner websites, including Twitpic and Twitvideo, which allow users to upload pictures and videos and share them with friends on Twitter. Twitpic can even be set up through a mobile phone so that in an instant, you can tell your friends what you’re up to AND share a photo with them.

A great aspect of Twitter is the ability to connect with people. Find someone with a common interest – for instance, most of my friends are as interested in hockey as I am – and start up conversations with them.

Even if they don’t live in your city, state, or even country, Twitter provides a forum for you to connect: just reply to them, by typing a tweet that says @theirusername and the message, and they’ll receive your message.

On Fridays, Twitter users can participate in a trend called “Follow Fridays,” where they list the people they recommend on Twitter for others to follow.

It’s a great way to expand your friendship base and find new people to connect with based on common interests or mutual friends.

I’ve met a lot of great people through Twitter, including friends from Los Angeles, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and parts of Canada.

Several prominent sports journalists even follow me – an accomplishment I’m pretty proud of, I’ll admit.

In addition, a lot of celebrities use Twitter, and their system of verifying these celebrity accounts proves that they’re the real deal, and offers an inside look into their everyday lives.

I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, and I’ve noticed there seems to be two groups of Twitter users: those who sign up, update a few times and never truly get into it; and those who sign up and update all the time.

I fall into the latter category. I update on a regular basis, many times each day.

Not just with what I’m doing, but I also talk about my thoughts, hold regular conversations with my friends from across the country, and live tweet while I’m watching movies, TV shows, or hockey games.

I’ve got over 17,000 tweets to date, and I’ve been told that my Twitter is like a “window into my life.”

One hundred and forty characters isn’t a lot, but if you’ve got something to say…. Tweet @ me!

•Melissa Kania can be reached by e-mail at kania.record@live.com. She can be found on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/melissakania.


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