What is Twitter? …and why should you care?

As a creative agency that develops Social Media Web sites and SEO strategies, we include Twitter as a part of our services to increase recognition and awareness for our clients. Most clients are aware of twitter but really have no idea what it is. My friend (and IT partner) Stuart Hall at NVelocity is a Twitter expert and wrote a blog on the topic. I believe really succinctly answered the question we hear all the time… What is Twitter? See below.

If you’ve never heard of Twitter, bear with us. Twitter is a funny name, but one you should know. In its most basic form, Twitter is a website that asks the simple question: “What are you doing right now?” You are free to answer that question as often as you like, as long as the answer is under 140 characters. Why 140 characters? The main interface for using Twitter is via text message, which has a 140 character limit.

While the above definition of Twitter is true, it only scratches the surface. Twitter is also described as a micro blogging service. Users can update their readers with mini-posts on a very frequent basis. Consider that power users on Twitter have upwards of 50,000 subscribers to their Twitter feed and over 17,000 updates. That is a lot of direct communication to a specific audience. That’s straightforward, but there’s more…

Twitter has a pyramid effect. If I share information on Twitter and people who consume it also share with people who read their Twitter and they share with their friends, you see that a single post can rapidly spread. There is already the “Twitter effect”, defined as when a popular Twitter user shares a website link and the resulting swell in traffic crashes the site.

Further delving into the question of “What is Twitter?” Some would argue that Twitter is the tip of the Social Media spear. Social Media is another relatively new term. From Wikipedia: Social media are primarily Internet and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings.

Still with us? Great, why should you care about Twitter? Twitter is impactful because people are moving towards consulting their peers in real time about their experiences via Social Media. Had a great steak? Take a picture with your phone and share it, instantly, with all of your followers. Wondering why traffic is so bad? Ask the “Twitterverse” and find out. Looking to interact directly with the consumers of your products? Bingo! Twitter is your answer!

Not convinced about the power of Twitter? Consider this, the first pictures from the crash of flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January were posted via Twitter and picked up almost immediately by mainstream media!

There are a lot of resources about Twitter and how to use it for personal and/or business gain. We suggest you spend some time learning about Twitter before actually using it. If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with us. We would be happy to get you started. And of course, we’re also on Twitter.