This weekend Minnesota anglers from throughout the state (actually, the world) will be able to keep up with the fishing action simply by reaching for their cell phones. That's right, if you're the tech savvy type who enjoys texting on the cell phone nearly as much as jigging a shiner, this blog post might be right up your alley.
Introducing Twitter.com, the wildly popular social networking service that allows you to function from either your computer or a mobile device, such as a cell phone. Consider it somewhat like a mini blog requiring the user to post information containing 140 characters or less, sometimes even including a picture. With an estimated 14 million current users, Twitter has become one of the hottest websites on the Internet with daily traffic often ranking it in the top 25.
So how do you use it? Well, best of all everything is FREE. To join Twitter and start "tweeting" (the lingo for posting a message) all you need is an e-mail address and a little time to set up some basic information about yourself. Then you start "following" people and posting an occasional message. HINT: One of the best ways to figure out who to follow is to observe someone sharing similar interests and watch who they follow. Simply click on the "follow" button and soon you'll be reading all the tweets made by that person. Keep in mind to tweet from your mobile device you'll have to take some additional steps in the set-up process.
Sound too confusing? Not interested in joining? No problem there, either. If you're willing to forego posting pictures of yourself holding that lunker walleye, you can still use Twitter. For instance, I will be tweeting from www.twitter.com/jim7226 and you can follow my messages just by linking. My plans are to start detailing my Minnesota Fishing Opener experience near Bemidji beginning on Friday morning.
Yet, don't just follow me. If you want to read about how other Minnesota anglers are doing and reporting their fishing results on Twitter, go to this website: www.search.twitter.com and simply type in the search block #mnfishopener as your query. On Twitter the words or characters preceded by the #(hash sign) are considered hashtags. By inserting a hashtag somewhere within your posted Twitter message it allows other people searching to easily find your relevant comments. In other words, performing a search as I just described should result in reading tweets made by everyone pertaining only to the Minnesota Fishing Opener.
The key is if you're using Twitter and you want your tweet to be found by others you must include the following hashtag #mnfishopener somewhere as part of each message. Keep in mind you can also "follow" the Star Tribune's Club Outdoors (www.Twitter.com/cluboutdoors) on Twitter to get the latest updates made to the website.
No doubt about it our polite society has come a long way since the days when Izaak Walton epitomized angling in its purest form. Certainly using Twitter while dancing in the waves sitting in a Lund isn't everyone's idea of a good time. Still, this year for those opening day anglers with a penchant for modern technology, it might be just another way to pass a little time once the fishing action becomes slow.