In a comment on my last, barely coherent post, 20 to Go requested a post about My Twitter Diet, saying, "I want in but have no idea how to start!"
Nothing could be easier. If you have never used twitter before, or just want a quick, cheap, entertaining read, you should get a copy of the Your Twitter Diet ebook (less than $5 last time I checked), which gives a great introduction to twitter. I will cover a few of the basics here, but the book goes into much more detail.
Signing up for an account on twitter takes a few seconds. Think of twitter as microblogging -- Instead of a long, tightly-edited blog post, you post a short, 140 character or less status update, called a tweet. There are some great videos about twitter, including "Twitter in Plain English." You can use hashtags (a word preceded by the # sign) to indicate the topic of your post. You can search on a hashtag to see other posts on the same topic. Since hashtags cannot have spaces in them, people often mush together words in a hashtag like #twitterdiet. This allows an ad hoc virtual community to be created around a topic. You can save searches so that you can revisit this community whenever you want.
Your Twitter Diet also sums up the basics of twitter dieting, which are, as twitterdiet inventor @RebeccaRegnier said, "Tweet instead of cheat!" If you already have a twitter account, you can do a search for twitterdiet and see the most recent posts from twitterdiet fans. If you need support or just want to connect with the community, you can add the #twitterdiet hashtag to your post. The nice thing is that you can use this whether you are doing Weight Watchers, low-carbing, or counting calories with LoseIt!. The community is there to provide support or cheer you on, not tell you how to manage your food or exercise.
If you like someone's posts and want to read more by them, you can follow them so that their status updates appear in your twitter timeline. You can also follow bloggers you read, like me, @toledolefty, @shauna, @jenful, @priorfatgirl, etc. Because they are short and can easily be composed and sent from a mobile phone, tweets tend to be more immediate and really can make you feel connected. Most publications and companies also have twitter accounts, so you can follow @nytimes (or @nytimeshealth, or @nytimeswell, or @nytimeskrugman, etc.), or @Shape_Magazine, or @FAGEUSA. It's fun to follow personalities like @JillianMichaels and her producer @JaniceUngaro.
You can post your own tweets as frequently or infrequently as you'd like. It's worth giving it a try. Just be forewarned that it is impossible to keep up with your twitter timeline, and if you're one of those people who obsessively worry if they miss anything, twitter might not be right for you. Otherwise, jump in and have fun!