Twitter

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Twitter, Inc. is a social networking tool that has rapidly emerged as a new medium of online news distribution. The free microblogging website, where users can submit messages containing 140 characters or less to their followers, was co-founded by Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams. Twitter is a privately funded startup established by Obvious.com in San Francisco, on March 21, 2006. [1] [2]

Contents

Usage

Twitter allows users to follow others, share status updates and / or news via "tweets," or republish another user's status update (referred to as a "retweet"). If a subject is popular enough, it can become a trending topic worldwide, and is displayed on the main website. Corporations can also pay Twitter to have a "Sponsored Trend" appear in the trending topics column. Twitter has made URL shorterners (such as ow.ly, bit.ly, tinyurl.com, and goo.gl, to name a few) popular, as they allow long URLs to be shortened and posted within a tweet.

As a simple messaging tool, the website states:

Twitter asks one question, "What are you doing?" Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web. The result of using Twitter to stay connected with friends, relatives, and coworkers is that you have a sense of what folks are up to but you are not expected to respond to any updates unless you want to.

The Twitter API allows developers to create applications for computers and mobile phones that allow users to filter their twitter feed, as well as track click-through rates, manage multiple accounts, or log-in to a website using their Twitter login.

Per 2011 figures, they are a fast growing company with over 200 million registered users worldwide, with an average of 65 million tweets daily. [3] As of 2009, the major search engines integrated tweets into the search results. Twitter achieved its first profits by signing search engine contracts with Google and Bing. [4] The company has an enormous market capitalization of 10-15 billion dollars. Twitter has rejected takeover offers worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Google and Facebook.

Many celebrities, national sports figures and members of Congress [5] have verified Twitter accounts and anybody can follow their posts.

About The CEO

Dick Costolo became CEO in 2010. He was formerly a Google executive.[6]

Twitter office space (Photo by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo).

Twitter Phenom

The site is such a popular destination that new news articles about Twitter appear daily. In fact, one tweet by Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, which stated that he would massacre hundreds attending an Oklahoma City Tax Day Tea Party led to him being arrested by the FBI. [7] Tweets of popular celebrities and politicians have also been commented on in the mainstream media.

Prominence

Thus far, Republicans have been more adept at utilizing Twitter than Democrats. Republicans occupy 18 of the top 20 spots in terms of followers for politicians on Twitter as of January 2010. [8] The study, "Twongress: The Power of Twitter in Congress," [9] showed twice as many Republicans use Twitter even though there were far fewer Republicans in Congress at the time. "Republican (members of Congress) are outpacing their Democratic rivals in nearly every single category that was measured" [10] This has ushered a markedly different trend for Republicans, who for years have been outmatched by Democrats online.

Conservatives on Twitter

Conservatives dominate on Twitter. [11] Some observers claim that liberals, who use wordy statements, have a hard time explaining themselves in 140 characters but it is to a conservative's advantage to articulate short and concise messages. Conservative words and phrases constantly make the top trending hashtags. As such, liberal tools are employed such as false flagging an account in large numbers. [12] [13] This results in the banning of popular conservatives, commonly referred to as Twitter's Gulag.

Conservative dominance is especially troubling for the campaign of Barack Obama. The Obama campaign loves to take full advantage of social networking to get their message out to the masses. Nearly every time Team Obama promotes a hashtag, such as #dontdoublemyrate, conservatives hijack the message. [14] A quick search would result in thousands of satirical responding tweets drowning out the Obama campaign's message with mockery.

Iranian protesters

Iranian protesters angered by the results of Iran's disputed presidential election started to tweet marches on the government. This forced the Islamic Republic to block all cell phone messaging in June 2009, as tweets can also be submitted via text message. At the request of the U.S. State Department, Twitter delayed scheduled maintenance to allow tweets from Iranians.

In a separate incident, a group calling itself Iranian Cyber Army hacked into Twitter and defaced their homepage. They replaced the page with a bold pro-Iranian and anti-American message. [15]

Future directions

In a July 2012 interview with the Wall Street Journal Twitter's CEO explained his future plans. The paper noted, "Twitter executives still fight a perception that the service is only for tech geeks or narcissists, and there remain doubts about how big the San Francisco company can grow."[6] Twitter wants to encourage users to communicate about particular events while they happen. Twitter plans to encourage independent application developers to use Twitter as a platform. It hopes to add tools to allow companies to analyze messages that discuss particular companies and events.[6]

See Also

References

  1. Happy Birthday Twitter! Mashable
  2. Twitter: Free Microblogging Service Perhaps the Perfect Mobile Blogging Tool, About.com, August 16, 2008
  3. Twitter as Tech Bubble Barometer, Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2011
  4. Content-Search Deals Make Twitter Profitable, BusinessWeek, December 21, 2009
  5. Members of Congress who Twitter Source Watch Encyclopedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ovide, Shira. "Beyond Tech Geeks and Narcisssists: Twitter Aims to Boost Site's Utility", Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2012, p. B1. 
  7. FBI accuses Twitter user of massacre threats CNet, April 26, 2009
  8. Study: On Twitter, Republicans Dominate Dems, NewsBusters.org, January 14, 2010
  9. Twongress: The Power of Twitter in Congress (PDF), Eyeonfda.com, January 2010
  10. Republicans Gain the Twitter Edge on Democrats, Study Shows, Fox News, January 15, 2010
  11. Conservatives Won 2010 Twitter Battle, PsychCentral, July 22, 2011
  12. Report: Angry liberals abusing Twitter features to silence conservatives, Examiner.com, April 30, 2012[Dead link]
  13. Twitter Bans Conservative Account, The Stump Report, August 10, 2011
  14. #GEN44: CONSERVATIVES USURP OBAMA’S TWITTER HASHTAG…AGAIN, The Blaze, March 25, 2012
  15. Twitter Hack: Part Of Broader Iranian Strategy, Techcrunch.com, December 18, 2009

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