The Twitter Book

Author: Tim O'Reilly & Sarah Milstein
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2009
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0596802813
Aimed at: Anyone wanting to join in with Twitter
Rating: 4
Pros: Plenty of screenshots makes advice easy to follow
Cons: Doesn't consider pitfalls
Reviewed by: Sue Gee

Is Twitter a craze or is it a technology that has a real role in the workplace as well as between family and friends? The statistic quoted in this book - more than 10 million users within 3 years - prove its popularity and it answers the basic questions about what Twitter is and how to use it.

 

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Twitter is essentially a messaging service and given that we already have email, IM (instant messaging), mobile phone texting, RSS and social networks what does Twitter offer? This book suggests four factors make it different:
• The limit of 140 characters per message means they are easy to write and to read
• Being on public access you can communicate with a new audience
• As messages are sent and received via a variety of mechanisms including mobile phones, PCs and websites they fit with nearly anyone's workflow
• The "friendliness common on Twitter" is also a key characteristic
The book's preamble concludes that Twitter is emerging as "a key business channel" and then, having presumably convinced you of its worth, gets down to the details of how to get started.

This book is an introduction to using rather than programming or modifying Twitter and it goes into the subject in great detail. There is a lot of jargon associated with Twitter and you'll find explanations of the basics such as "following" and "tweet" but also more advanced aspects such as DMs - "direct messages" which provide a private channel for messages intended for a specific individual. Hashtags are also demystified in the first chapter. There's plenty of advice about how to use Twitter and about etiquette and it is all very easy to assimilate given that the information on the right hand page of a spread is accompanied by a full page screen shot on the left hand side. One criticism of the book is that is overwhelmingly positive about Twitter and doesn't even raise issues such as personal or professional security in this very public forum.
If you want to join in Twitter but are not sure how this book covers every aspect in words and pictures.


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Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers

Author: Michael Schrenk
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 362
ISBN: 978-1593273972
Aimed at: PHP developers
Rating: 4
Pros: Practical with lots of projects
Cons: Doesn't describe big bots/spiders
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

It's important to note the subtitle, "A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CU [ ... ]



Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja

Author: John Resig & Bear Bibeault
Publisher: Manning
Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1933988696
Audience: Competent JavaScript programmers
Rating: 4.8/5
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

Many think that JavaScript couldn't punch its way out of a paper bag? Is this just because they don't understand it?


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