Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tweeting twitter (K2 #20)

Question of the Week
What is Twitter? How do I connect to it?
-- C.P., RCSC

Answer
Dear C.P.,

Twitter Terminology
Twitter users have created a language of their own. Here is a quick guide to the jargon:
  • Follower: A user who follows another user 
  • Follow Count: The number of users you follow and the number of users following you. Both are available on your profile page 
  • Mention: Mentioning a user in a tweet by preceding their username with the @ sign. For example, @ThimphuTech 
  • Hashtag: A keyword preceded by # which is used to tag the topic of the tweet. For example, #bhutan 
  • Retweet (RT): A forwarded tweet 
  • Retweeting: Forwarding a tweet 
Who to follow
More and more individuals and organizations in Bhutan are using Twitter. Most newspapers have an account. Here is a selection of other tweeters. Just enter the user name in the Twitter search bar.
  • @RoyalBhutan: Official updates from the Royal Office for Media 
  • @BBSBhutan: Breaking news, as well as updates on upcoming BBS programmes 
  • @Drukair: Follow the national carrier for schedule changes, delays and more 
  • @tsheringtobgay and @sangaykhandu are MPs with an active twitter presence 
  • @dorjiwangchuk and @SonamOngmo, arguably the two most prolific Bhutanese tweeters, updating (respectively) from the UK and US 
There are millions of other users to follow. Here are just two:
  • @DalaiLama: Nuggets of wisdom from the office of His Holiness, who has more than 2 million "followers" 
  • @ManUtdUK: Follow Drukpas' favourite football club 
Twitter.com is a very popular website where users can create a free profile page, and then post messages to that page for the world to see. While this sounds a lot like blogging or Facebook, there are some sutle differences. First, the messages - called "tweets" - must be short: each message can be no longer than 140 symbols (such as letters, digits, spaces). Thus, if you are of the chatty type, this is a good exercise in condensation!


Second, users can subscribe to, or "follow", the tweets of other users. The most recent tweets of people or organizations you follow appear on your main Twitter page. Depending on the users you follow, this allows you to get breaking news, find interesting links, hear opinions, or learn what your friend had for breakfast.

Lastly, if you are a B-Mobile subscriber, you can register your phone with Twitter (twitter.com/devices). Once verified, you can tweet by sending an SMS to 40404 (Nu 0.45 per SMS). In addition, you can receive an SMS whenever a user you follow tweets, completely free of charge (to turn on this option, follow a user and then look for a small mobile-phone-like icon on the user's profile page). Be careful - this can quickly become overwhelming! Note: TashiCell customers are currently out of luck, but if enough people nag them, perhaps they will provide a similar service.

The best way to learn about Twitter is to try it out. Many people open accounts just to follow news and other updates from various sources, even if they don't have anything to share with the world. To register, visit twitter.com.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com