According to Wikipedia, Twitter is “ a free social networking and micro-blogging 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.” Created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, this network has gained popularity worldwide and it is often called as “SMS of the Internet”.
But Twitter is more than a social network. It has already been used in campaining -by candidates in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign; in legal proceedings such as the arrest of Daniel Knight Hayden by the Agents of the FBI; in protest and politics -thousands of NHS users took part in a Twitter campaign expressing their support for the NHS (with use of the #welovetheNHS hashtag) when it was attacked by opponents of Obama’s health insurance reform proposals were made public; to survey opinion -the CBC cited tweets regarding Elizabeth May and Stéphane Dion along with a graph of items mentioned on Twitter as evidence that people were calling for Dion to step down in response to the election results; etc.
But where twitter is really gaining importante is in large corporations and home-based businesses. Companies are using Twitter to grow their brand and bring their exposure -this is, advertising themselves. It is easy to follow a bussiness on Twitter and moreover, companies encourage other Twitter users to follow them. “Even if companies don’t try to sell a product directly on their first connect, they’re establishing a connection that will perhaps serve its purpose later.” Using Twitter in marketing is a way of growing the potential of a business.
Another field where Twitter is being used is in Education. Universities around the Globe are encouraging students to make use of Twitter in some subjects. “Twitter turned out to be “a useful tool for evaluating a course formatively. Because of Twitter’s simple use and the electronic handling of data, the administrative effort remains small.”” The innovative approach gives students the opportunity to express their views in class discussions. Another advantage of Twitter is that the limit of characters forces students to get to the central point. For instance, students in Universidad de Deusto are encouraged to Tweet in the Digital Resources Management subject (with the #rdf0910 hashtag).
Twitter in Wikipedia. Retrieved 15:48 15/11/09 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter
The Twitter Phenomenon: Connect with Social Networking Before It’s Too Late!. Retrieved 15:02 15/11/09 http://www.corporate-eye.com/blog/2008/12/the-twitter-phenomenon-connect-with-social-networking-before-its-too-late/