Expat Tech: Twitter

Twitter Buenos AiresUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you’ve probably heard of Twitter. It has been covered by every major news source, spoofed on the Daily Show, made the talk show circuits, contributed to the break-up of Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer, had Ashton Kutcher post a picture of Demi Moore bending over in a bikini and then race CNN to 1,000,000 followers, been touted as the next Google, seen Oprah sign up, praised, criticized, and more. So, now is the time for you to get on the Twitter bandwagon.

This post is not going to go into the intricacies of Twitter – there are tons of pages that already do that – but we’re going to talk about how you can use Twitter to meet people in Buenos Aires, find out news, ask for advice, see trends, help others out, etc.

The first step is to sign up for an account and get familiar with the service.  Twitter has a bit of a learning curve, there’s no doubt about that.  You’ll need to learn the concepts and vocabulary, acceptable behavior, find people to follow, get followers, personalize your page, and grasp other general concepts. You’ll probably wonder what the hell all these people posting less than 140-character updates is all about and why you’d be interested. Stick with it, it’s worth it. There is truly a wealth of information available on the site and it’s growing every day.

Once you’re familiar with using Twitter, the search function is the next place to really explore.  This is one of the powerful areas of the site, and in our example case, we’re going to show how to use it to monitor information about Buenos Aires.

– Go to Twitter Search and in the search box, enter: buenos aires OR buenosaires OR bsas OR #buenosaires
– Hit enter and you’ll get the results for any mention of Buenos Aires or its common abbreviations. You’ll find a wealth of information and people who may interest you. Feel free to reply to them or follow the ones who interest you. Unlike Facebook, following people you don’t know is highly encouraged.
– Now, on the upper right, you’ll see a link which says “Feed for this query.” You can copy that link to Google Reader and have a constantly updated stream of mentions regarding Buenos Aires.

Of course, you can do this for any terms that you are interested in.  This is the real power of Twitter – seeing a stream of information in real-time, unlike Google which must take the time to index web sites.

Give it a try and feel free to leave a comment on this post with your Twitter name.  I’m @buenosaireslife.  See you there!