What is Twitter?

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If you watch TV, read magazines or newspapers, or do business anywhere near a city, chances are you’ve heard of Twitter. And even if you haven’t yet, you will.

Twitter is most commonly described as a free “social networking” and “micro-blogging” service that gives its users a way to send, receive, and share personal messages and updates, called tweets. But what do those terms mean? Essentially, you could say that Twitter is in the business of connecting the greatest number of people (well into the millions worldwide already, and growing) through free, instant, personalized messaging. Emphasis on the free. And instant. And personalized…

Once a user has created a unique Twitter profile, they can start posting tweets—which are no longer than 140 characters—to their Twitter page. This page is highly customizable, and most users choose a color scheme, design, pattern, or image to make their page their own. Once sent, each tweet appears in a dialogue stream on the page, along with tweets from other Twitter users that person has chosen to follow.

“Following” is a pivotal component of Twitter, as it allows users to include the tweets of other users they’ve found into their own stream of tweets. Think of this as a way of subscribing to another person’s tweets, and having them automatically delivered—like a newspaper, say—to a user’s own doorstep. Many Twitter users “follow” a handful of other users (friends, family, co-workers … even famous athletes, actors, writers, politicians, and more use Twitter and have huge followings) and are in turn being followed by a handful of others.

You can imagine how significant a service like Twitter would be in a world where vast amounts of information are a mere blink away, and people are more than chomping at the bit to share their opinions on it all. Businesses of all kinds are rethinking and restructuring their marketing and communication models based on the vastness and depth of Twitter, devoting people, time, and resources to the creation of business Twitter accounts.

Hundreds of articles and websites on “How to Use Twitter for Business” have surfaced in the wake of Twitter’s success. Marketers are connecting with consumers and industry influencers using the Twitter platform, and are learning valuable lessons about the market at a fraction of the research cost. What’s more, they’re linking their own tweets back to their own web content, and seeing more significant online business in return.

With a popular service like Twitter, the possibilities are seemingly endless. It’s clear that businesses can and are capitalizing on its technology, and enjoying newfound success. Wherever future communication technology is headed, one thing is clear—Twitter will be there. And thousands of businesses will, too.

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  1. I loves my Tweetz!

    digitalbenjamin — December 14th, 2009, 4:01 PM
  2. I’m currently following 74 Twitter accounts, and have 83 following mine. Is that good?

    rbirkey — January 27th, 2010, 3:19 PM


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