- Twitter on the Barricades: Six Lessons Learned - New York Times
- And Twitter, the newest social-networking tool, has been identified with two mass protests in a matter of months — in Moldova in April and in Iran last week, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to oppose the official results of the...
- Companies take time to Twitter - The Star-Ledger - NJ.com
- by Venuri Siriwardane/The Star-Ledger ED MURRAY/THE STAR-LEDGERGary Vaynerchuk, owner of the Wine Library in Springfield, uses Twitter to market his products and has new customers because of his tweets. Gary Vaynerchuk's powerhouse wine business was...
- Twitter Spam Spreads Worm - PC World
- Twitter spam bearing a worm virus is on the loose today trying to lure Twitter users into opening a malicious file attachment containing malware that could take over Windows-based machines, Symantec is warning. It works through a Twitter message that...
- At Craigslist 'camp,' Facebook takes on Twitter - CNET News
- For one weak, fleeting, terrible moment, a slightly cynical drip of sweat ran down my back as I pondered whether Twitter had rather co-opted Iran (in the public eye, at least) and now Facebook was trying to get on level terms. I let it pass--until,...
- Iran: A Twitter Coup - Daily Kos
- ... and pro-Israel media working around the clock, this expatriates' new-found alliance is being skillfully manipulated to ensure that a segment of the Iranian society imposes its tyranny of the minority through a Twitter coup on the Iranian nation....
- Iran's chokehold on media spawns creative solutions - Salt Lake Tribune
- By Josh Awtry When the Iranian government clamped down on independent media in the wake of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, Twitter user Allison Gianotto decided to get involved. "Being fairly connected to the geek community...
- Twitter Is a Player In Iran's Drama - Washington Post
- By Mike Musgrove The State Department asked social-networking site Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance earlier this week to avoid disrupting communications among tech-savvy Iranian citizens as they took to the streets to protest Friday's reelection...
- Twilight Saga's Peter Facinelli Announces 'Twitter' Victory - OnTheFlix
- Peter Facinelli who plays Dr. Carlisle Cullen in “Twilight” and “New Moon” has apparently had a “Twitter” following bet going on with director Rob DeFranco as to who could get the most “Twitter” followers. He said he just got off the phone with Robert...
- All Atwitter at Correspondents' Dinner, Minus Twitter - Washington Post
- Given the slate of entertainers, were the dinner's organizers catering to the Twittering class? "I never thought of it that way, not at all," RTCA chair Heather Dahl said. "Maybe subconsciously." Providing balance was Sweet Honey in the Rock,...
- Twitter: The tweet that shook the world - guardian.co.uk
- Instead, they went to American online messaging service Twitter, the social network that had swiftly become a central source of information with blow-by-blow updates about the post-election protests. Hearing the news that engineers at the Californian...
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees.
Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained extensive notability and popularity worldwide. It is often described as the "SMS of Internet," in that the site provides the functionality (via its application programming interfaces) for other desktop and web-based applications to send and receive short text messages, often obscuring the Twitter service itself.
Four gateway numbers are currently available for SMS — short codes for the United States, Canada, India, and an Isle of Man-based number for international use. There is also a short code for Vodafone users from the United Kingdom. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via e-mail.
Estimates of the number of daily users vary as the company does not release the number of active accounts. In November 2008, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research estimated that Twitter had 4-5 million users. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranks Twitter as the third most used social network (Facebook being the largest, followed by MySpace), which puts the number of unique monthly visitors at roughly 6 million and the number of monthly visits at 55 million, however only 40% of users are retained. In March 2009, a Nielsen.com blog ranked Twitter as the fastest-growing site in the Member Communities category for February 2009. Twitter had a growth of 1382%, Zimbio had a growth of 240%, followed by Facebook with a growth of 228%. A Nielsen Online study claims Twitter has a retention rate of 40% which is about half the retention rate more established social networks have.
We don't know all the ways we're going to use that money, hopefully we'll keep a lot of it in the bank. If we never need a lot of it, that's great, but in the climate we're in we don't want to assume too much, and we don't want any short term concerns to distort the potential of our long term vision, and our investors and the boards and everybody is very on board for building a very long term viable company. We need to do that step by step, and we need to invest a lot to get there.
Twitter has been described as akin to a web-based IRC client. The Twitter web interface uses the Ruby on Rails framework. From the spring of 2007 until sometime in 2008 the actual messages were handled by a pure-Ruby persistent queue server called Starling. Starling was replaced in 2008 with Scarling (since renamed Kestrel), a persistent queue server written in the Scala programming language. The Twitter API itself allows the integration of Twitter with other web services and applications. In late April 2008, TechCrunch reported that, due to downtime related to scaling problems, Twitter would abandon Ruby on Rails as their web framework and create a new system with PHP or Java. Evan Williams, however, soon debunked this report in a Tweet he sent on May 1, 2008.
Twitter collects personally identifiable information about its users and shares it with third parties. Twitter considers that information an asset, and reserves the right to sell it if the company changes hands.
A security vulnerability was reported on April 7, 2007, by Nitesh Dhanjani and Rujith. The problem was due to Twitter's using the SMS message originator as the authentication of the user's account. Nitesh used FakeMyText to spoof a text message, whereupon Twitter posted the message on the victim's page. This vulnerability can only be used if the target's phone number is known. Within a few weeks of this discovery Twitter introduced an optional PIN that its users can specify to authenticate SMS-originating messages.
On January 5, 2009, 33 high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised, and falsified messages — including sexually explicit and drug-related messages — were sent. The accounts were compromised after a Twitter administrator's password was guessed via a dictionary attack.
Twitter began experiencing problems related to its growing number of users in 2007. The service has experienced outages resulting from traffic overloads due to its increased popularity. The Wall Street Journal wrote, "These social-networking services elicit mixed feelings in the technology-savvy people who have been their early adopters. Fans say Twitter is a good way to keep in touch with busy friends. But, some users are starting to feel too connected, as they grapple with check-in messages at odd hours, higher cellphone bills, and the need to tell acquaintances to stop announcing what they're having for dinner." Satirical references have also been made, such as speculations as to what Shakespeare and Freud might have tweeted, if they had used Twitter. Steve Dotto opines that part of Twitter's appeal is the challenge of trying to publish such messages in tight constraints.
Twitter experienced approximately 98% uptime in 2007, or about seven full days of downtime. Twitter's downtime was particularly noticeable during events popular with the technology industry, such as the 2008 Macworld Conference & Expo keynote address. When Twitter experiences an outage, users see the "fail whale" error message created by Sydney artist and designer Yiying Lu, a whimsical illustration of red birds using nets to hoist a whale from the ocean. The message reads: "Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again." The fail whale has been featured on NPR. During May 2008 Twitter's new engineering team implemented necessary architectural changes to deal with the scale of growth. Stability issues resulted in down time or temporary feature removal.
As of August 2008, Twitter withdrew free SMS services to users in most of the world. For approximately five months, instant messaging support via a Jabber bot was listed as being "temporarily unavailable". On October 10, 2008, Twitter's status blog announced that IM service was no longer a temporary outage and needed to be revamped. IM status is said to return at some point, but requires major work to be completed.
In March 2009 Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury strip began to satirize Twitter, with the strip characters ironically highlighting the triviality of "tweets" and Roland defending the need to keep up with the constant-update trend or else lose relevance. SuperNews!, similarly, satirized Twitter as an addiction to "constant self-affirmation".
During a 2 March 2009 episode of the The Daily Show, the host Jon Stewart negatively portrayed members of Congress who chose to "twitter" during President Obama's address to Congress (on 24 February 2009) rather than pay attention to the content of the speech. The show's Samantha Bee satirized media coverage of the service saying "there's no surprise young people love it - according to reports of young people by middle aged people".
Another episode of the Daily Show on February 26, 2009, during which host of NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams (a guest on the Daily Show and a journalist) derided "tweets" as only having subject matter which refers to the condition of the author in any given instant. Williams implied that he would never use Twitter because nothing he did at any given moment was interesting enough to publish in Twitter format.
During a February 2009 discussion on NPR's Weekend Edition Daniel Schorr noted that Twitter accounts of events lacked rigorous fact-checking and other editorial improvements. In response, Andy Carvin gave Schorr two recent examples of breaking news stories that played out on Twitter and said users wanted first-hand accounts and sometimes debunked stories.
In April 2009 a large number of mainstream media outlets claimed that an fMRI study by Antonio Damasio and colleagues had shown that rapid-fire news updates and instant social interaction are too fast for the 'moral compass' of the brain to process. The original study, however, had not addressed Twitter or other social networking tools at all, and media reports had exaggerated the study's implications for both Twitter and the 'moral compass'.
British comedian Stephen Fry is also well known for having a large number of followers and was reported in The Times as being the celebrity with the most followers on Twitter in April, 2009. The most followed celebrity today, however, is Ashton Kutcher, the first Twitter user to reach the one million follower mark, with the CNN "Breaking News'" account, and singer Britney Spears in second and third place respectively. The Faculty of Psychology of the University of Vienna has been using Twitter for formative course evaluation.
On February 12, 2009, there was a global meet-up called Twestival where Twitter users came together in over 170 cities around the world to take the online community surrounding Twitter offline as well as to raise money and awareness for Charity: water.
On April 10, 2008, James Buck, a graduate journalism student at University of California, Berkeley, and his translator, Mohammed Maree, were arrested in Egypt for photographing an anti-government protest. On his way to the police station Buck used his mobile phone to send the message “Arrested” to his 48 "followers" on Twitter. Those followers contacted U.C. Berkeley, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and a number of press organizations on his behalf. Buck was able to send updates about his condition to his "followers" while being detained. He was released the next day from the Mahalla jail after the college hired a lawyer for him.
Research reported in New Scientist in May 2008 found that blogs, maps, photo sites and instant messaging systems like Twitter did a better job of getting information out during emergencies, such as the shootings at Virginia Tech, than either the traditional news media or government emergency services. The study, performed by researchers at the University of Colorado, also found that those using Twitter during the fires in California in October 2007 kept their followers (who were often friends and neighbors) informed of their whereabouts and of the location of various fires minute by minute. Organizations that support relief efforts are also using Twitter. The American Red Cross uses Twitter to exchange minute-to-minute information about local disasters, including statistics and directions.
Media outlets are also starting to use Twitter as a source of public sentiment on issues. The first trades union Twitter service was launched by the news and campaigning website LabourStart in June 2008 During the CBC News television coverage of the Canadian federal election on October 14, 2008, the CBC cited a graph, produced by the Infoscape Research Lab, of items mentioned on Twitter, along with Tweets regarding Elizabeth May and Stéphane Dion, with the majority of the Dion Tweets calling for him to step down in response to the election results.
During the 2008 Mumbai attacks, eyewitnesses sent an estimated 80 tweets every five seconds as the tragedy unfolded. Twitter users on the ground helped in compiling a list of the dead and injured. In addition, users sent out vital information such as emergency phone numbers and the location of hospitals that needed blood donations. In January 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 experienced multiple bird strikes and had to be ditched in the Hudson River after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Janis Krums, a passenger on one of the ferries that rushed to help, took a picture of the downed plane as passengers were still evacuating and tweeted it via TwitPic before traditional media arrived at the scene. In February 2009, the Australian Country Fire Authority used Twitter to send out regular alerts and updates regarding the 2009 Victorian bushfires. During this time the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, also used his Twitter account to send out information on the fires, how to donate money and blood, and where to seek emergency help.
The first criminal prosecution arising from Twitter posts began in April 2009 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Daniel Knight Hayden, a supporter of the Tea Party protests against the policies of President Barack Obama. Hayden was allegedly sending tweets threatening violence in connection with his plan to attend the Tea Party protest in Oklahoma City.
There are many services and applications that work with or enhance Twitter. Many are designed to allow easy access to Twitter from specific devices, such as the iPhone or BlackBerry whilst others are designed to make it easier for users to access and update their Twitter account.
A number of Twitter-like services exist, including sending text messages to multiple people at once. Some services use a similar concept but add country-specific services or combine the micro-blogging facilities with other services, such as file sharing. Other services provide Twitter-like functionality, but within closed networks for corporations, nonprofits, universities, and other organizations. In May 2007, one source counted as many as 111 such "Twitter look-alikes" internationally where, despite Twitter efforts to localize, Chinese-language clones have far outdone the original's own progress in China.
Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time (2009) is a book by Joel Comm, an Internet marketing expert, professional speaker, entrepreneur and author of the New York Times Best Seller The AdSense Code. The book aims to teach business owners how to use microblogging service Twitter to network and build a community around their services, and to use tweets for viral marketing. According to the book’s website, Twitter Power was commissioned by Matt Holt at John Wiley and Sons and was completed within two months. The book contains a foreword by motivational speaker Anthony Robbins and a chapter by Internet entrepreneur Ken Burge.
Much of the information contained in the book describing how business owners are marketing themselves through Twitter was gathered by surveying hundreds of Twitter’s users.
Twitter Power begins with a review of social media and the rise of microblogging — the practice of posting very short messages for public view. The book then talks the user through the registration procedure; offers advice on building a following; describes the messages themselves and how to write them; discusses ways to connect with customers and team members on Twitter; and describes how companies are using Twitter to build their brands and drive behavior.
List of Twitter services and applications
There are various services and applications designed to work with or enhance the micro-blogging service Twitter. They are designed with various goals - many aim to improve Twitter's functionality whilst others set out to make the service more accessible, particularly from other devices.
Primary use of Twitter has evolved to include not only the life events of original users, but the advertising of companies and organizations. Co-founder of Twitter, Evan Williams believes many of the ideas driving the growth of the website come from unexpected uses invented by the users themselves. Twitter can be used to promote individuals, organizations and companies. The message of a twitter marketer has to be conveyed precisely and clearly within the 140 character limit, which can then be sent to all followers. These followers can then choose to purvey the message to each of their followers; the reach of Twitter is all based on the fact the millions of people around the globe can be reached.
Twitter is a fast way to a the message out to millions of followers in a very short amount of time. This amount of knowledge sharing gives twitter an advantage for marketers. By searching for a particular current event, products, or discussion point Twitter can be used to stay on top of industry and market trends. This search can help to refine a brand by observing the “tweets” made about an industry or the general opinion of a certain market. Twitter has been recognized as a great networking tool by users and now companies who want to promote their products, services, and also the company brand. Customers can be engaged by interacting with human representative of the company who can respond to tweets. This makes a more human connection to the customer as opposed to the more mechanical system of spam emails and give and more empathic design to the marketing of a company. There are currently over 2000 programs based on the Twitter service, such as Twhirl, TweetScan, Digsby, Trillian, Snitter, and Spaz. All of these programs can help track comments, trends and posts. Currently Twitter is the quickest way to spread information virally to a large scope of people connected in a lot of random ways.
Twitter has become a significant business tool with single users to large companies such as Zappos and CNN using the service for promotion. An Abrams Research survey found over 200 social media leaders indicate Twitter as the best social media tool for businesses. While a free service, 39.6% of social media experts would recommend a company to pay for the service.
Many celebrities are also using Twitter to engage with their fans. Some, including Ashton Kutcher and Shaq, manage their own Twitter feed and post their own tweets. Some, however, may use ghost writers to manage their posts. The latter approach could be risky as the Twitter community may see it as disingenuous. Ashton Kutcher was the first Twitter user to attract one millions followers. He was in a close race with CNN. The race attracted a great deal of media attention and resulted in Mr. Kutcher appearing on Oprah and a number of other TV shows. Kutcher recognized the marketing potential of the situation and used it to drive awareness and funding to support a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing malaria.
The most recent estimate of monthly traffic on Twitter topped 15 million people for March 2009, figured quoted for United States traffic only. Of these visitors there is a close split between male and female users with males at 48% and females at 52% of users, with students making up a great percentage of users. The majority of users falls between the ages of 18-35 and are overwhelmingly Caucasian, 82%. The most even numbers are seen when users are categorized by income with a very nearly even split four ways between those who earn $0-30,000, $30,000-$60,000, $60,000-$100,000 and $100,000 or more.
Large numbers of organizations are starting to use Twitter to market. Unfortunately, many of them are suffering from Vasa Syndrome, a pitfall created by pushing an idea, product, or strategy forward with little or incorrect information.
Unlike spam email, Twitter is an opt-in service. Receive a Twitter message can only happen if you decide to follow a certain Twitter feed. There is always the option to no longer follow a feed. The user is in control of what they see. This is both to the advantage and disadvantage of the Twitter Marketer, who must consider etiquette so as not to spam followers.
Marketers are treating twitter like most other forms of marketing - trying to attract people with floods of follow requests from fake accounts. This may be marginally effective, but it can annoy potential customers and create a negative attitude toward the company.
In an attempt to increase sales twitter marketers have made the mistake of posting sales, deals, and new products with every single tweet they post. This common marketing technique is called broadcasting and can be seen in T.V., online, and paper advertisements. Using this technique on twitter can annoy potential customers and eventually cause them to stop following. Marketers are realizing now that in order to gain large numbers of followers they must keep their audience engaged and entertained.
Before using Twitter to promote yourself or a company make sure there are very clear guidelines on how to use it and what information is ok to post. Also be careful of those that wish to slander you on Twitter, they can have a continueing negitive impact on the way people view your product if it is allowed to continue.
Twitter users must be careful not to release sensitive information about their company. Republican Pete Hoekstra made this mistake about a confidential trip and is now the subject of scrutiny. This can also happen in private industries where confidential information is leaked to the rest of the company or other comeditiors.
Companies are being slandered on Twitter by upset customers who register under the company’s name and post offensive or untrue material. It only takes one annoyed customer to create an account and slander your company. To avoid this it has been suggested that every company registertheir twitter account online. Companies are being slandered on Twitter by upset customers who register under the company’s name and post offensive or untrue material. To avoid this pitfall one writer suggests every company registering their twitter online.
Twitter has limitations in the amount of connection you can build with customers, due to the restriction on the amount of information you can provide. Tethering you Twitter profile with your company website/blog gives customers a place to reach you for more information. This can be done by posting your main URL under your name in your profile. Some marketers, like @joelcomm and @waynesutton have posted their multiple URLs in their profile pictures to allow for followers to know the multiple ways to reach them.
This method is popular, but since it is a picture and not text, it requires followers to type in your URL into their browser by hand. AN alternative, if you have multiple links you want to share, is to include a link to your different parts of your website (or your different websites) with relevant informative tweets. This allows for followers to immediately click and go to your website.
NY Times uses twitter as a way to immediately update its followers when a new article is published. The major benefit here is that followers can be informed of breaking news without needing to check the website. However, the frequency of updates raises the possibility that people may not pay attention to every update.
In this case, NY Times is using twitter in a way very similar to a traditional RSS feed.
This is another fairly simple application of Twitter, once again updating when the source website changes. However, this is much more useful as it is a single update on the special sale of the day. The infrequency of updates makes it much more feasible to utilize one of Twitter’s unique benefits: the ability to forward messages as text messages to a user’s cell phone.
Here we begin to see humanization of the marketing campaigns. Although largely abandoned now, during Obama’s presidential campaign the twitter feed was consistently updated with short posts linking followers to videos of rallies, transcripts of events and message boards that were seeking user input.
This is one of the most complete implementations of Twitter. NASA has a twitter page for many employees, projects, labs, and other locations.
The main NASA page serves as an RSS style news feed. However, not all posts are links. Occasionally they are short summaries of various NASA related incidents of the day.
The main thing that sets NASA apart from other RSS-style feeds is a willingness to answer direct questions. This direct interaction with the public begins to give NASA a more human touch, starting to create a connection to the department.
This humanizing connection is further encouraged by the other NASA related twitter pages. The mars science lab writes posts and responds to others in the first person. Many members of NASA post updates during their day, discussing things from practicing spacewalking to watching a PONY league baseball game. Further reinforcing the effect of talking to a real employee, they also respond to others. This humanization and willingness to respond starts to add human aspects to an otherwise faceless organization, increasing both organizational transparency as well as fostering the aforementioned human connection.
In addition to adding a human face to the company, the Twitter pages of NASA employees serve as a database of other skills or interests the employees have. This creates an organic organizational memory database, offering another venue for checking to see if any untapped skills exist within the company.
Turbotax functions as many things, including a newsfeed. It serves as a help-desk, directly answering questions from other users. It holds occasional contests, some as strange as giving away a copy of Turbotax to the 10th person to respond with a tax day related haiku. It also makes incredibly clear that although the account is a company account it is a person making all the posts.
When useful feedback is offered, the response is a statement that it will be forwarded to the programming team. This is a clear example of empathic design. The turbotax twitter page allows for these valuable user suggestions to reach the programming team.
The human representative style of this page offers many benefits. It allows for greater interaction with the userbase, both gathering information and helping to humanize the company. It creates reasons to follow the page beyond the simple micro-blog updates on new product features; it offers help to those with questions and fun contests for everyone to see. The time limited aspect of the contests is especially interesting, rewarding frequent checking of the Turbotax page.
This page takes Twitter in an interesting direction: its purpose is more a general discussion of Carnival with only the occasional sales related link. This page is much more interested in responding to other Twitter users and talking about how wonderful their Carnival trip was. It also serves as a help desk, willing to answer user questions about sales, ships, locations and the like.
This style of advertising focuses on what are essentially organic testimonials: other users find the carnival page and discuss how great their trip was. Carnival seemingly recognizes the importance of positive consumer opinions, frequently retweeting those who interact with it seeking to continue the conversation. Such discussion could be called knowledge sharing between consumers while they discuss the many opportunities that await in a Carnival cruise.
Comm, J. (2009). Twitter power: How to dominate your market one tweet at a time. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Jaiku is a social networking, micro-blogging and lifestreaming service comparable to Twitter. Jaiku was founded in February 2006 by Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen from Finland and launched in July of that year. It was purchased by Google on October 9, 2007.
Jaiku was created in February 2006 and formed Jaiku Ltd. Jaiku is based in Helsinki. Jaiku founders came up with the name Jaiku because the posts on Jaiku resemble Japanese haiku. Also, the indigenous Sami people of Finland have traditionally shared stories by singing joiks.
On January 14, 2009 it was announced that Google would be open-sourcing the product but would "no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase" leaving development to a "passionate volunteer team of Googlers" .
On March 12, 2009 Jaiku was re-launched on Google's AppEngine platform and on March 13, 2009 the source code to JaikuEngine (the open source equivalent of the jaiku.com codebase) was released.
Jaiku consists of a website, a mobile website and a client application which acts as a replacement address book that runs on S60 phones.
Jaiku is compatible with Nokia S60 platform mobile devices through its Jaiku Mobile client software. The software allows users to make posts through the software onto their Jaiku page. Jaiku released their API, which allows programmers to make their own third party software components such as Feedalizr. One of the main differences between Jaiku and its competitor Twitter is Lifestream, an internet feed that shares users online activities utilizing other programs such as flickr for photos, last.fm for music, and location by mobile phone. Since Jaiku became open-source, the Lifestream function has been removed.