MLMUG Book Review
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A Book Review
by Mark Bazrod

TwitBk
Book: The Twitter Book (2nd Edition)

Author: Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

ISBN: 9781449314200
Pages: 248
Prices: Print $19.99; Ebook $15.99; Print & Ebook $21.99

Level: Beginner to Advanced
Ratings:
Advanced - 5 of 5 Apples
Beginner - 3.5 of 5 Apples

Twitter is a messaging service, somewhat similar to email, except that messages (tweets) are limited to 140 characters and almost all are public. Tweets can be sent from desktops, laptops, cellular phones, tablets and websites.

Using Twitter is like going to another universe. Or at least it seemed that way when I read The Twitter Book. It was definitely a strange feeling. In some respects, it was similar to moving from a PC to a Mac - or vice versa. A totally different environment.

On reflection, I give The Twitter Book 5 out of 5 stars for someone who already is using Twitter or who intends to seriously use Twitter. The Twitter Book gave more than 100 sites or add-ons that you can use with Twitter. Very informative material if you're going to be a serious Twitter user.

On the other hand, I would give The Twitter Book only 3.5 stars out of 5 for someone who just wants to get a toe in the water, someone who perhaps reads messages (tweets), but does not send them. For that person, the level of detail is overwhelming. Nonetheless, I would not be surprised if after reading the book and using Twitter for a while, that neophyte becomes a more serious user.

My other problem with The Twitter Book, from a new user's perspective, is that it did not provide a concise overall view of Twitter, leaving me to develop one for myself after reading all 248 pages.

Be that as it may, I'm going to review The Twitter Book from the standpoint of a serious Twitter user. Twitter has quickly become a world-wide phenomenon. It has over 140 million active monthly users who make 400 million monthly visits to its website; it serves billions of messages a week, and is available in 17 languages. It's a key communications channel during major political events and natural disasters. Businesses are using it in a major way.

In many respects, Twitter has become the world's real-time newspaper. It's a great tool for quickly sharing common experiences and disseminating information.

Twitter is a messaging service, somewhat similar to email, except that tweets are limited to 140 characters and almost all are public. Tweets can be sent from desktops, laptops, cellular phones, tablets and websites.

I like the way The Twitter Book is laid out with text on the right-hand page and examples of tweets on the left-hand page. However, even after reading The Twitter Book, I still have a problem understanding some tweets. It takes a fair amount of time to decipher the many conventions and abbreviations. A separate section in The Twitter Book on how to read tweets would have been helpful.

But on the positive side, The Twitter Book does a great job in showing how to sign up for Twitter and get started, and providing information such as selecting a username, filling out a profile, finding people you know on Twitter, finding people to follow, shortening messages, using hashtags, sending private messages, looking at top trending topics, and getting help from Twitter.

Retweeting (forwarding others' tweets) is an extremely important tool and service to others. There are extended discussions about guidelines for retweeting, what to retweet, and troubleshooting retweets. The Twitter Book also has useful discussions about Twitter search (a powerful tool), third-party programs to make your use of Twitter more effective, hints for getting quality followers, replying to messages, asking and answering questions, how often to tweet, some hashtag tricks, and handling spam.

It was interesting to read that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days and afternoon Eastern Time is the best time to tweet. And - if your message is important, you should repost it several times over the course of several days!

There are also additional instructions on revealing information about yourself and cross-posting to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media.

Businesses and organizations will also benefit from the discussion of special considerations and ideas for businesses.

Conclusion - All in all, The Twitter Book is filled with information on Twitter. It's a terrific resource. I highly recommend it to everyone, whether a serious user or a Twitter newbie. Then it's up to you to decide how much you want to be involved.

P.S. Since reading The Twitter Book, I'm forming my Twitter policies and starting to use Twitter.

MarkB

Reviewer: Mark Bazrod has been involved in leasing computers since 1968 and has been active in the leasing industry as a board member, speaker, and committee chairman. His company was one of the first to lease computer software back in 1992.

He bought his first Apple computer around 1978 and currently uses an iMac, iPad and iPhone, taking the latter two everywhere.

He was recently elected President for 2013, and has been on the Board of MLMUG since June 2004.

This site has many more reviews, all written by MLMUG members.
View all our book reviews. Or, view our
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© 2012 by Mark Bazrod & MLMUG
Posted 12/30/12
Updated 01/01/13