Twitter is a popular social network that can be called micro-blogging.
Think of it as a way to post updates about what you’re doing. These updates can be sent by text message to update your status on twitter.com. Through the use of various plugins, you can incorporate these status updates into Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, Friendfeed and many other websites and website-management systems. I have Twitter integrated with Facebook and my website so that every time I tweet it updates my Facebook status and my website.
You can also use Twitter as a messenger service of sorts, using its ability to send direct messages to other users.
Twitter is simple to use. Simply create an account, enter your mobile number, and Twitter will send a text message to you. When you reply, you’ve authorized your phone so that every time you send a message to that number it will update your Twitter page – this process is called “tweeting” or posting a “tweet”.
You can use Twitter effectively without the text messaging part, but it’s not nearly as fun. They do have applications for all operating systems as well as a Firefox plugin, but nothing seems to be as cool as the phone integration.
As a Twitter user, the two numbers that you grow are “followers” and “following”. “Following” describes those other users to whose updates you subscribe and “followers” describes those users who subscribe to your updates. As of today, the leader on Twitter is Barack Obama who has 76,691 people following him, followed by Digg founder Kevin Rose who has 62,679 followers. I think I have 25. :-[
The take away is that Twitter can be used as a bulk text messaging service. If your followers have device-updates enabled, each time you tweet they will get a text message with the contents of that tweet. Since they can follow you without turning on the phone updates, you don’t know how many people actually get a text message, but if your followers go to twitter.com they can see your status.
It took me a while to find the value in Twitter. Since the people I initially followed didn’t know me, it kind of felt like I wasn’t involved with the community. Over the last six months that I’ve been using it, I’ve convinced some of my friends to join and so now the updates I receive and send become much more relevant. It’s quite fun and makes quick updates to websites very easy.