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Sampling Twitter (Without an Account)

Q. I do not have a smartphone. Can I still use Twitter? Do I need an account?

A. Using the Twitter app on a smartphone or a computer is a popular way to keep up with the state of the world in 280-character posts. However, you do not need a touch-screen mobile gadget or even an account to sample the free service.

With or without an account, it is possible to write posts and follow other Twitter users over S.M.S. text on a feature phone that has texting capability and a data plan. Twitter has a set of S.M.S. commands, described in its online help guide and a frequently asked questions page, that let you perform basic actions, like following or unfollowing another Twitter user.

You can also browse posts from users with public accounts on the Twitter.com site, as long as you know the name of the account — also called the “handle” — or accounts you want to read. Once you know the account name, just add it (after a slash) and the end of the twitter.com address to go to that user’s page of tweets on the web — like twitter.com/nytimestech or twitter.com/nasa.

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Even if you have not signed up for Twitter, you can browse and read posts from a specific public account by adding the user name after twitter.com in the address field.

Credit
The New York Times

Using Twitter’s search page to look for account names or topic keywords is another way to see activity on the service. Clicking links or on Twitter posts embedded in other stories can also take you to a user’s account page on the web.

If you want to post and experience Twitter without having to fiddle with S.M.S. codes or manually search for content — but are not quite up to being a public presence in the Twitterverse — you can also create a protected account instead of a public one. With a protected account, you can follow other users with public accounts and add their posts to your feed, but people who want to follow and interact with you must send you a request first.

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