Site: Twitter Revenue model: Promoted tweets
Oh, this is going to be addictive.
–Dom Sagolla, Twitter co-creator
Twitter, the micro-blog SNS, is unique among Social Media channels. Limited to only 140 text-based characters per post, called “tweets”, users must communicate much in few words. Yet even with such circumspect restraint, the site enjoys a great deal of popularity, with an estimated 200 million users being reached in 2011 and a billion tweets being tweeted a week. Further approximations of 19 billion searches per month rival those of Yahoo! and Bing (Search Engine Land). Often described as an SMS, or short messaging service, it was produced in March of 2006 and launched in July of that year by Jack Dorsey, whose first post stated, “just setting up my twttr.” Consideration was in fact given to naming the site Twttr, similar to Flickr, but never carried through.
The service has been widely embraced, with celebrities, political leaders, and industry captains as well as mainstream users tweeting information about what is currently happening in real time. The result has been the ability to engage others in a way hitherto unknown, with those followed and those following; the former being a participants list of users for whom they are interested in knowing what is being posted, and the latter for others who are curious about what is being communicated by the contributor.
Huffpost Media has questioned whether Twitter is “The 21st Century News Source,” a sentiment which has been widely echoed across the Web. This strategy was enabled by changing the question asked of users from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening” in November of 2009. Biz Stone, a co-founder of the company, further buttressed this concept by expressing his idea of Twitter as a wire-like news service, a concept termed the Twitter news network, in November 2010. This has been validated by actions of users during newsworthy events such as revolutions in strife-ridden countries such as Libya, Iran, and Egypt, where news blackouts were averted by updates posted during conflict.
The site is even being used in classrooms in an effort to boost student engagement; a video was uploaded to YouTube by the University of Minnesota describing use by attendants of Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, and in March of 2010, Mashable posted a related article on this subject.
Twitter has produced some interesting effects throughout society, and promises to continue to be a source of entertainment and information for some time to come.