Without any aplomb or introduction, this is a straightforward blog about Twitter and how it works. And in a broader sense, it's about the Internet itself and us as users of a powerful tool.
Twitter is a social networking website which allows registered users to set-up profiles and send/receive messages called "tweets." Tweets are a maximum length of 140 characters which are displayed. As you might all know by now, Twitter can be used for sending/receiving photos as well. According to founder Jack Dorsey, "...we came across the word 'twitter' and its was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'." Twitter soared based on the popularity of texting. Texting is usually between two users whereas tweeting can be to millions. Some texting may or may not be archived depending on the service provider (See Kwame Kilpatrick, former Mayor of Detroit-married father of three and author of 14,000 sext messages.) Twitter uses the internet and tweets reside there forever. Moreover, users can re-tweet someone else's tweet to their own followers. That is known as RT or retweeting. Retweeting is a common and encouraged use of Twitter as it allows many to see one message as it is virally communicated. But be careful: once you tweet, you cannot delete! You can, however, protect your tweets which does make them private and only available to your followers. This is something which high net-worth service providers may consider doing to keep their conversations private. Others want public visibility utilize Twitter for its outstanding social networking as its a means of spreading your thought-leadership. Users generally cull information from the internet, reading and their own inbound tweets and then send links out to followers and/or the Twitterverse (Twitter universe) at large.I am a slightly old-school so Twitter reminds me of the old newswire service with many interesting links occurring in a stream. Others have likened it to the CB radio days. It is in a timeline fashion so if it was posted before you looked, you need to go backwards to see what you have missed. Typical tweets may be news-related, motivational quotes, music recommendations, thought-leaders musings, self-promotion, etc. Depending on the number of people you are following and their proclivity, there may be hundreds/thousands of tweets in your twitter stream each day. Just like the newswire, you can go back and review the tweets in total or Twitter lets you sort them by user or a specific hashtag (#) designation. When users want to highlight their material by subject and thus make it searchable, they may add a hashtag to it like #wealthmanagers or #HNW (high net worth). These are some of the hashtags that I use.
Twitter is very handy as it has a mobile application as well. Let's say that you are at a conference and someone says something of note that you wish to let your followers know about. You are able to do that remotely via your smartphone. Other power Tweeps (Twitter + peeps) use third-party apps such as TweetDeck and many others to tweet more easily and quickly for volume tweets. Other volume tweeters may divide followers into lists so that followers can be sorted into areas of interest. People are addressed directly via @ signs like @TheRudinGroup when people want to send me something directly which I will notice.
Twitter's growth has been remarkable from around 400,000 tweets per quarter in 2007. According to Twitter, as of June 2010, there were 65 million tweets posted per day or about 750 tweets per second! It is the currently the third leading social networking site! Here are some additional interesting statistics: according to comScore, only 11% of Twitter users are teenagers. Most Tweeps are women (53% vs 47%) and 5% of Twitter users account for 75% of the activity. Also, New York has the most Twitter users. These is data from a Sysomos study.
It is said that one of the reasons for Twitters growth lies in the challenge of shortening your message to 140 characters, which was originally set-up to duplicate text messaging. I can say for myself that its a fun challenge to shorten your own messaging and to communicate succinctly.
Dare I say that "a picture says a thousand words?" To learn more, follow me @TheRudinGroup