What is it about Twitter? A simple question, a simple program, a complex answer – maybe even unexplainable. If you were to type “twitter” into a Wikipedia field you would find this: “Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications”. If you have a basic understanding of the World Wide Web today you probably understand words like blogging, add a micro- to the beginning and you have tiny blog posts, called Tweets. Simple, Right! What isn’t so simple is why one would ever want to broadcast short transmissions about their day-to-day activities; why would I want to ask questions, and take interest in what a total stranger is doing with their life?
Twitter has been around since 2006, it quietly gained steam at first while people figured out its potential and spread the word. Twitter grew exponentially worldwide and although it has slowed down in the last year, its user numbers are in the millions! Twitter is a tool for the 21st century speeding up the flow of information, allowing people to tap literally into the resources of the entire world. Twitter has no time zone, no deadlines; it is not bound by conventionality! We don’t have to check our favorite news websites to know when a story has “dropped” anymore, no more one sentence emails either – Send a Tweet! Web 2.0 is about life, interaction and feeling like the impossible is possible; the World Wide Web is alive and constantly expanding, now it even has a voice.
Can anyone explain why Twitter has been so successful in such a short period of time? Maybe not, but I do know that in general people want to feel like they have a voice; now, everyone can guarantee an audience, hopefully a full house. The fact that Bill Gates signed on board yesterday says a lot. In eight hours he had over a 100,000 followers!