Although Twitter has been an active member of the social networking and blogging community since 2006, its popularity blew out of proportion late last year, with millions of people joining including celebrities and businesses, which in turn prompted a good majority of the internet society to join and see what the whole fuss was about which saw Twitter’s user count shot up with everyone joining, tweeting and using all the Twitter related services (Twitpic, etc). Here I will do a basic review of Twitters features and function discussing the good and the bad as well as any other details worth mentioning.
This review was written in December 2009 and therefore any features, problems or otherwise pointed out are specifically available to the current date.
What is Twitter?
What is Twitter seemed to have been the topic of many conversations back when it was at its popularity peak. Although Twitter is a very simple concept and the website is also very basic and user friendly, people didn’t and still don’t get the point of it.
Twitter is basically a very cut down to basic social network, or micro-blogging platform. Once registered the user is asked “What’s happening?”, and gives you 140 characters to tell your followers “What’s happening?”. So in essence you can write down your thoughts, feelings, goings on, problems, announcements or anything else which you can sum up in 140 characters and the people who follow you will see it. You can also follow people yourself, so if you think something or someone is interesting, you follow someone who tweets about it a lot or is someone in specific (like a celebrity). Essentially it’s like Statue Updates on Facebook and your friends seeing the updates, but instead of your ‘friends’ it can be any random stranger and the statue updates are called ‘
s’. It’s very simple.
What is Twitter Used For?
It can be used for pretty much anything (within reason), Twitter allows you to write almost anything and everything, I say almost because I think if you offended enough people to the lengths that they report you, you could be taken off, but otherwise you can write anything, link anything, even draw anything (using characters on your keyboard). So with this in mind, Twitter is used for:
ing -people update what they’re doing and thinking
ing-business and people informing others of special offers and off their business’ existence
ing – Updates from News channels/papers, or updates of events (ties in with promotional).
Although these are in no way official tags for the tweets, it’s what people have tags some Twitter’s based of their tweets. So to sum up, you can use Twitter to inform your friends/followers of what you’re doing, your potential customers/followers of new offers and deals, and to tell the latest news, as well as many more reasons, there is nothing stopping you from just being an annoying ass and spamming people.
Why Use Twitter?
Anonymous Networking – One of the main reasons why some ‘normal’ people use Twitter is because it’s not quite a social network and you don’t have to put in your name or anything personal in if you don’t want too. So you essentially have a nickname like ‘CiaoKing123’ and you’re known by that and that alone if you wish. This usually means people can say things you won’t post on Facebook because you’re tweeting to a bunch of strangers (if you haven’t told your friends your username).
Very Basic Social Network – It’s basic and cut down. Unlike Facebook, all you have (or use to have) was a box that asked you “What you’re doing?” or “Whats Happening?” and you would
and see what others (people you follow) have tweeted in a wall like stream of tweets, simple.
User Friendly – Very user friendly, can get the grasp off Twitter terminology very quickly.
Applications – There are lots of applications available for your computer, your mobile phone, your PDA and even other special devices (discussed below), which you can use to tweet from.
Up to Minute Updates – Can receive up to the minute updates about news (disasters, ect) and important information (stocks, ect), an example is Twitter was used to update about H1N1 outbreaks.
No Rants – Small (140) character limit, won’t see anyone ranting on.
Help & Support – You can ask for help and some total stranger can help you out with advice and support. Some businesses (BT, eBay, eBuyer, Sony, etc) have support accounts that help out people tweeting about their products.
No Follow Obligation – You usually aren’t under any obligation to follow someone you don’t have too (like you are on Facebook sometimes), so you only get tweets from people you want tweets from.
Excellent for Promotion – Great for promoting your products and telling people about your offers, as people who are interested will follow you, so you’re not really spamming.
*New* Lists – Recent Update allows you to have lists, so you can manage your followed better.
These are amount a few reasons to use Twitter, and I am sure you can find a purpose for it if you’re interested in it. If you don’t have to have any friends to ‘socialise’ with, you can become the best of friends with a total stranger because you both like Lost or Pink Shoes(?).
Downside of Twitter?
Spam – Spam I found was the biggest downside, since pretty much anybody can @(at) reply you, you get people spamming referral links and other junk you don’t want. But you do have to tweet specific topics to get specific spam.
Dropped in Popularity – Not as popular as it was at its peak, typically ‘real’ people don’t tweet anymore, usually people tweet links or news and Re
(repost another person’s tweet).
Multi-Network Clients – Some people use things like Ping.fm or an application on their phone, which posts your update on multiple networks so it goes to MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Twitter and anything else at the same time. So you may see
s that are meant to be Facebook statues and don’t mean anything to you.
Addiction – Some people get mildly addicted to updating what they are doing every other minute. Although I haven’t personally experienced it, I have told it does happen.
None Real Followers – Although it may say you have 200 followers, about 60% of them are quite likely bot accounts, which basically just follow you automatically hoping you will follow back to get there promotional tweets, or someone you followed, followed you back automatically. So basically you may be tweeting to 200 people, but only about 10 are actually listening.
Spamming Media – Some people join sites like Blip.fm among others, which basically tweet your every move to your followers, like CaioKing123 has got a new song, CaioKing123 has deleted his song and so on. Essentially it spams your followers with annoying tweets, and if you’re a follower you either put up or unfollow.
Although I’ve included a lot more positive features than negative, it’s hard to find anything less wrong without going into unnecessary details.
Software Applications & Devices for Twitter
When Twitter was at its peak millions of people joined and loads of gadgets and programs were created to work with Twitters API (communicate with Twitter servers). These gadgets allowed you to tweet more conveniently and from almost anywhere. Some of these applications have actually helped improve Twitter itself, the applications invented the Re
and Lists, which Twitter has now built into its own website. Some popular applications include –
deck and Twhirl for your computer.
You can also
from your phone either by text or by using a Smartphone application (depends on your phone).
There are also some devices that are especially built to do nothing but tweet, but none really became popular or sold many devices.
There are also loads of services available for Twitter like Twitpic, Twilike,
dare to mention a few from the almost hundreds out there. You can find pretty much anything you’re looking for which has a Twitter twist to it.
I have been using Twitter for slightly over a year now, I have found it really useful and quite fun to do, and you can post things you wouldn’t otherwise bother posting on Facebook or otherwise. Businesses can seriously benefit of using Twitter as they can openly promote their business and communicate with their potential market. Also the large variety of applications and ‘sub websites’ which offer some fun features to use with Twitter make this social media one of the most ‘exploited’ and useful ways to not only communicate your random thoughts to the wider public, but also seek help, advice and information.