July 28, 2008

Twitter – What Are You Doing?

Aiming to answer the question, “what are you doing?”, Twitter provides a method to broadcast your thoughts via the Internet using bite-sized, 140 character messages.  Think of Twitter as a miniature online journal (blog) which displays your messages in a historical time line format.

Messages are made available to all Twitter users with thousands of updates streaming in at any given moment.  Users who elect to “follow” your messages are more easily able to view your history and send their own comments.

The majority of Twitter users simply want to share their life activities, as mundane as they may be, with friends, family, and even strangers.  However, an ever-increasing group of people and firms are using Twitter as a marketing tool for gathering raw consumer intelligence or creating a platform to share information in real-time.  As an example, Dell Outlet notifies users via Twitter of its daily clearance specials.

Practical Uses:

  • Let your mom know the moment that her grandchild is feeling better
  • Share a link to an interesting article that explains why banning cell phones while driving may actually cause more accidents
  • Tell your friends what you liked about last week’s big movie
  • Read what people have to say about the political debate

Insider Tips:

  • Rather than simply viewing Twitter online or using your mobile phone, try one of the many free Twitter software tools, a list of popular options can be found here:
  • Start by “Following” other Twitter users to see how the service can really be used
  • Keep in mind that your public posts can be found via search engines – in other words, using Twitter to complain about your boss might not be wise

What We Liked:

  • The web interface is simple and generally non-intimidating for new users
  • Freedom to use a variety of methods of sending/receiving messages including instant-messaging clients, mobile phones, and computer software
  • Large base of users and plenty of activity at any given time

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Twitter is growing exponentially but as a result, the system tends to go down routinely
  • In order to get the most out of Twitter you need an external software application


Company Info:

  • Launched: July, 2006
  • Privately held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Founded by Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey
  • Web site:


  • Free


  • 4 out of 5 (superb)

Screenshot of the Twitter dashboard after signing in

Screenshot viewing my followers list

Screenshot of a user who has customized his Twitter background and colors

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