Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whither Twitter?

It's official: 2009 is the Year of Twitter.

On the public front, this was signalled by Twitter getting a whole Oprah show to itself last week; and by Oprah herself joining the Twitter community. Evan Williams, one of Twitter's co-founders (the other two are Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone) and coiner of the word "blogger", was on hand to guide Oprah through the process. Also, there is a rumour going around about a huge potential takeover bid by Google.

On the personal front, and again last week, a friend told me he was experimenting with Twitter for the first time and asked me whether I had ever used it. Answer: No. And I only had the vaguest of ideas about what it actually was: Something to do with posting to websites from mobile phones, no?

So what is this Twitter that all the world's atwitter about anyway? Very briefly: It's an online social networking service built around answering the simple question "What are you doing?" Clear? Umm-hmm, I thought not. Oh, something else: All tweets (that's what Twitterers--Twitter users--call submissions or status updates posted to Twitter) must be no more than 140 characters long (spaces included). Incidentally, there's a nice big Twictionary to keep you up to speed with Twitterspeak which is growing at a twinormous and twerrifying pace. (OK, I just made up those last two myself.) And yes, it really is 140 characters, not words. Which is why it's also called microblogging I suppose. Why 140 characters? Ah, now that would be telling...

Oh, all right then: The 140 characters is to do with the 160 character limit of a text message or SMS--the other 20 characters are reserved for people's names.

So that's it, that is Twitter.

And no, I haven't gotten around to tweeting yet.

But I will.

One of these days.


  • Evan Williams has a great blog, although it doesn't get updated much these days. He's too busy tweeting it seems--in more ways than one.

1 comment:

ambersun said...

Cool - that clears up a lot of things.

I plan to join Twitter and Facebook next holidays with a friend's help.

Good to know what I'm joining.