A company that provides a service by the same name, Twitter is a free, real-time short messaging service (SMS) that delivers messages on computers and handheld devices.
The first prototype was built in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched publicly in August of 2006; in May 2007, Twitter Incorporated was founded. By February of 2009, it was the third most used social networking service.
The main theme of Twitter is "What are you doing?" which encourages users to post short updates (no more than 140 characters, including short URLs) as to their current activities so as to stay in touch with friends, relatives and coworkers. These updates are known as tweets.
When users post what they are doing, or rather send a message to Twitter, they do not expect a response. Twitter is a microblog which is essentially a venue for publishing yourself on the Web. On the receiving end, Twitter is ambient, meaning updates from the people you choose to follow will float to your cell phone, IM, or Web site and you are only expected to read them as you want.
As with other social networking services, Twitter has taken the world by storm and similar to Facebook, a variety of apps have been created to support it (such as TweetDeck and TwitScoop). Twitter has also birthed it's own lexicon... go to twitterverse to see some examples ;-)
You can follow NetLingo on Twitter at the bottom of the page if you want. Thanks to Twitter, millions of people are obsessively updating 'friends' on their most mundane activities; NetLingo likes to post a comment about the word of the day.
So, is Twitter a breakthrough in personal communications or a colossal
waste of time? Click on "more info" below and read "The Twitter
Revolution" article for more insight.
Historical perspective: Whether you like Twitter and use it or not, Twitter has become a force for revolution, and for disclosing personal information that may destroy your political career, as in the case of politician Anthony Weiner and his sexting scandal. Dubbed Weinergate, Democratic U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner used Twitter to send a link to a sexually suggestive picture of himself to a woman from Seattle. After several days of denying media reports that he had posted the image, he admitted to having sent a link to the photo, and other sexually explicit photos and messages to women both before and during his marriage. primarily because of this Twitter scandal in 2011, Weiner announced his intention to resign from Congress.
Twitter has proved to be an instrumental tool in organizing people in times of catastrophe and dissemenating information in countries that censor news and Internet usage. For example, during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, eyewitnesses sent an estimated 80 tweets every five seconds as the tragedy unfolded. Twitter users on the ground helped in compiling a list of the dead and injured. In addition, users sent out vital information such as emergency phone numbers and the location of hospitals that needed blood donations. The use of Twitter by victims, bystanders, and the public to gather news and coordinate responses to the November 2008 Mumbai siege led CNN to call it "the day that social media appeared to come of age."
In June 2009, following allegations of fraud in the Iranian presidential election of that year, protesters used Twitter as a rallying tool and as a method of communication with the outside world after the Iranian government blocked several other modes of communication. Organizations that support relief efforts are also using Twitter. In part by using the social networking sites, activists organised and publicised the unprecedented protests that gave rise to the Arab Spring in December 2010, which saw longtime governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya fall, regimes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain clash with the opposition, and leaders in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE offer more benefits to their populace.
In 2013,Saudi Arabia investigated how to make its citizens
reveal their identities on Twitter, as part of a drive to seize greater
control of social media. More than half of Saudi Internet users have
Twitter accounts, including princes, clerics, and millions of ordinary
citizens. The site, which allows anonymous accounts, has become a forum
for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia, much to the fury of
religious conservatives. The government has also threatened to ban
hugely popular Internet phone and messaging services, such as Skype,
unless telecom companies allow the government to censor them. “A bunch
of stupid old men,” commented a Saudi Twitter user calling herself Rana
al Mohsen. “If you block one app another comes up.”
Social media, its rise and its new activist uses, have played a critical role in mobilization, empowerment, shaping
opinions and influencing change. Meanwhile, the American Red Cross uses Twitter to exchange minute-to-minute
information about local disasters, including statistics and directions. For more examples of this kind of Twitter usage, visit the link below!