MAA and Loci on Twitter!
Can meaningful mathematical conversations be carried out in 140 characters or less? Find out! Follow the MAA accounts on Twitter, and search Twitter's public timeline of tweets (those 140-character messages) for hashtags related to MAA and Loci.
MAA maintains two account names on Twitter: maanow and maareviews. If you have an account on Twitter, you can "follow" these accounts -- then all tweets made from these accounts will appear in your account's home page. Also, if you send a tweet which includes an account name (other than your own), preceded by "@", this will be listed as a "mention" on the other account's homepage. The owner of that account may decide to "retweet" your message so that all of their followers can read it.
Hashtags are brief categorical metadata tags (i.e. subject keywords, or abbreviations of keywords) used to simplify searching for tweets on a common subject. To see all public tweets which include a particular hashtag, enter the tag (with the "#" character) in the Twitter search field. The search field is available for anyone to use on the Twitter home page -- you don't even need an account! The Twitter service does not organize tweets by hashtag on your Twitter account home page, but some third-party Twitter reading applications might.
Note: #maa is being used as a Twitter hashtag, but not by MAA.
Long URLs, such as those which refer to Loci articles (typically more than 70 characters long), will be shortened using one of the common free URL-shortening services such as tiny.cc or bit.ly. The resulting shortened URLs are typically around 20 characters, but have no obvious relationship with MAA or Loci. For example, http://tiny.cc/DoFdl refers to the Loci Home page.
If you are following another person's account, and they are also following yours, then the two accounts can exchange "direct messages," which are subject to the same length restrictions as tweets, but are not broadcast to all of your followers. The MAA accounts generally do not accept direct messages.
The Public Timeline:
Unless you specify otherwise in your Twitter account settings, all of your tweets become part of Twitter's "public timeline," the chronological list of all public tweets. The tweets which automatically appear on your account home page are only the tweets originating from the accounts you follow, but searches apply to all tweets in the public timeline. Direct messages do not appear in the public timeline. All tweets originating from the MAA accounts are public.
Given the very strict limit on the lengths of tweets (140 characters), many abbreviations and otherwise shortened terms have become common in tweets. Many Twitter users have compiled lists of useful abbreviations -- to find them, Google "Twitter abbreviations."
In case you care, Loci Editor Tom Leathrum maintains the Twitter account leathrum. If you follow that account, Tom promises not to bore you with tweets about when he ties his shoes in the morning (unless he can connect it with mathematical knot theory). Leathrum follows both of the MAA accounts listed above, as well as several other accounts, including:
Leathrum also recommends the following: