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What is Twitter Anyway?

By Lisa Bacala

Have you been wondering "What is this Twitter? Why are people twittering? Is twittering even a word?"

Have you heard the words Tweet us at on the news or TV? Are you worried that if you ask someone to describe twittering or tweeting that you will be labeled as a social misfit or uncool? I have also made that assumption. The assumption that just because someone is young and into twittering or understand social media that I would be greeted with laughter or at best a blank stare. This is a bad assumption and once I stepped over that fear of being laughed at, I actually got answers. And I want to share my discovery with you.

I bet you are thinking yeah, yeah so what is Twitter, Twittering, Tweeting and all that jazz? Why do news agencies use it and why do I see in on T.V.?

Twitter is a website that offers something called micro-blogging. Micro-blogging (yeah, another word to learn) like blogging, it allows people to text little updates and put them immediately online, so that anyone can see them or by only people in special social groups.

Tweets (the little text messages) can be submitted to Twitter with a variety ways and devices from instant messaging, email, cell phones or the web. Tweets are direct text messages sent "at" a person by using the"@"symbol before their username. This Tweet will not only communicate with that single person but also show partial conversations with other members of the group. Then, once you have an account with Twitter and someone follows you, people can direct message one another or "DM" through the Twitter websites interface.

Twitters can friend or "follow" other Tweeple (people plus Tweeter) to receive Twits, Tweets or Twitters (it is a personal preference what you call it). Adding or "following" a person is similar to adding a friend on a social network like Facebook.

Next question...why? Tweeting on Twitter attracts people with similar likes and dislikes. It is all about letting people know what you are up to and expressing yourself in 140 characters or less. It’s an immediate mini form of self expression. Tweets range from single commentary on subjects near and dear to the heart in little bursts and rants to just describing mundane activities at any exact moment from waking up and drinking a latte to news worthy events or even deciding what shoes to wear.

Some Tweets pin point and use Twitter for monetary gain. They post links to websites and blogs. Twitter allows a business person to draw attention to blog entries, sale coupons, happenings and events. Twitter allows a business person to target people with similar backgrounds and buying habits.

There are many uses for Twitter just to name a few, you can ask for advice, heighten aware in a cause, offer help and resources to others, promote products and/or services and even promote breaking news. So, that is why you are hearing Twitter everywhere, with so many uses and the fact it allow self expression in immediate could it be any other way! Now, will you be Tweeting soon?

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