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Twitter: Is 140 characters enough?

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

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Back in July I finally decided to sign up to twitter, since then I’ve tweeted 486 times, followed 44 people and have 31 followers. For Twitter these figures aren’t much but this is one social network I’m glad I signed up to. Below I’ve highlighted some of the benefits and limitations I’ve come across since using twitter:


1. Knowledge Base

Twitter is full of bright minded people with more specialist knowledge than can be easily accessed via Google. When asking a question on Twitter you can expect a near instant reply. This is best observed with a large number of followers, but for the right answer all you need is one.

2. New Ideas

It’s the norm on Twitter than people will post the interesting things they come across as they go about their daily business. A lot of this stuff you may never come across naturally so it’s a great way to become exposed to new things.

3. Ranting

Sometimes life can be frustrating and it can be difficult to find an outlet. Twitter provides an outlet for your frustrations and given the topic others will reciprocate your frustrations helping you better.

4. Inform

Twitter is great to advertise your most recent work, or blog post. Remember those that follow you are interested in what you have to say so use them to advertise your work. If they like it they may reference it somehow or re-tweet it to their followers.

5. Twitter Apps

There are many Twitter apps that allow you to keep track of your tweets in any location. I currently use TwitterFox on my PC as I always use Firefox and so I’m always aware of new updates. On my phone I use Twitterrific, although it doesn’t inform me of new tweets it does allow me to quickly look through my updates when on the move.

6. 140 Characters

The great benefit of Twitter is that all the above comes in 140 characters, forcing information to be kept short and to the point, never getting bulked out with unnecessary information.


1. 140 Characters

Yes one of Twitters great features is also its most annoying. I have spent many a time having to rewrite tweets to shorten them to fit within the characters. Always trying to keep the point I try to make within the single tweet. Others however will tweet a single idea over multiple tweets.

2. Spamming

Nope, Twitter is not even safe from the reach of spammers. Although Twitter does a decent job of catching and suspending spammers they will always appear out of the blue to follow you. In most cases I will block these accounts as I prefer my followers to be legitimate.

3. Telephone Conversations

Ever remember listening in on a telephone conversation and only hearing half of the conversation; Twitter is much the same. When following a single person you can receive their replies to those you may not follow. This gives you only half a story of which you have search for if you want to know the rest.

4. Twitter

Twitter itself is famously flawed, the original system was not scalable and since then the guys at Twitter have been playing catch up. So why not use an alternative? Simply it’s the people. Without being able to take your friends with you to another system that system has no value.


Though Twitter is far from perfect it is the people that are using it that make it a worthwhile addition to your life. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge and get a taste of what’s going on in the lives of other people (if that interests you).

These are my views of Twitter, let me know what you think?