I wrote this for archaeolog.org, but I’ll post the beginning here:
At first, I was at a loss. Earlier in the week I had stated my intention to twitter the Stanford meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group on my blog, but there I was, standing outside the door of a conference room, wondering what exactly I should write. Twitter is a social networking site that allows users to send messages to their ‘followers’ in short, 140 character-long statements. These statements can be read online or sent automatically as a text message to your cellphone. Out of curiosity I signed up for Twitter in April of 2007, but didn’t use the service much, as I didn’t know anyone else who was using it at the time. Since then, Twitter has grown precipitously, with famous users such as Tina Fey, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman and President Obama (who has been rather quiet lately) updating their subscribers on subjects ranging from world policy to food preferences–Tina Fey ate a Caramello bar for lunch on February 3rd, in case you were wondering. I find Twitter useful primarily to join in a broader conversation during specific events; Twitter is nearly indispensable during South by Southwest, a large music, film, and interactive conference where I was a guest speaker on an archaeology panel last March. People attending the conference could use hashtags, a method of tagging updates that makes it possible to search for event and topic-specific commentary. I was able to find reactions to our panel discussion by searching for archaeology under the #SXSW hashtag and was happy to see that our discussion of virtual reconstructions and the archive were well-received by the technologists in the audience.
(the rest can be found at archaeolog.org)