Twitter is a social networking service and microblogging where people can leave their messages, called tweets, with a limit size of 140 characters. These are published on the user profile page.
Users can subscribe to other users’ message flow, which is called “to follow,” subscribers are called “followers.”
All users can post (tweet) and read tweets via the Twitter website, but many choose instead to use third party applications, as these are designed to work on a cell phone, or as a standalone application that gives better view than the Web browser does. It costs nothing to use Twitter, but mobile operators may also send you the bill for using text massage service for reading and posting your tweets. Twitter’s headquarters is in San Francisco, but offices and server rooms are also available in San Antonio, Texas, and Boston.
It is known that Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey in March 2006 and launched in July of that year.
The service had 200 million registered users worldwide (September 2011). Of these, half (100 million) who log into their account at least once a month, while 50 million do so daily (September 2011). In 2010, they sent over 25 billion tweets.
In addition to individual users, there also are many companies, services, artists, and organizations presenting themselves on Twitter as a way to reach out to their users, customers, and fans. The service received much attention during the presidential elections in the U.S. in 2008, when the presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign used Twitter and other social media to reach out to their constituents. Twitter is also a tool for dissidents in totalitarian regimes to communicate with the outside world, as well as during natural disasters, conflicts and the like when the individuals in place are immediately able to report on events.
People who use Twitter use some special expressions. One of these conventions is to type the pound sign (#) in front of a word or acronym to make it easy to find messages about this. Such words are called a “hashtagg.” Large organizations, events, and social movements often have their own hashtagg to gather information about them.
Twitter accounts are referred to in a similar manner with an at sign (@) before the username.
Disseminating or forwarding someone else’s tweet is called “to re-tweet.” An early way to “re-tweet” was made by typing RT followed by an at sign and the original author’s account name. The current built-in way to “re-tweet” was introduced in November 2009.
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