Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 280-character (Changed from 140 to 280 – Nov 2017) messages called “tweets”. Twitter is ranked as one of the ten-most-visited websites worldwide by Alexa’s web traffic analysis.
Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through the website interface or mobile device app. Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass and launched in 2006.
The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with more than 100 million users who in 2012 posted 340 million tweets per day.
As of the first quarter of 2017, Twitter has reported more than 328 million active users.
How Twitter Works
Tweets are publicly visible by default, but senders can restrict message delivery to just their followers. Users can tweet via the Twitter website, compatible external applications (such as for smartphones), or by Short Message Service (SMS) available in certain countries. Retweeting is when a tweet is forwarded via Twitter by users. Both tweets and retweets can be tracked to see which ones are most popular.
While the service is free, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees. Users may subscribe to other users’ tweets – this is known as “following” and subscribers are known as “followers” or “tweeps”, a portmanteau of Twitter and peeps. Users can check the people who are un-subscribing them on Twitter (“unfollowing”) via various services. In addition, users can block those who have followed them.
The Importance of Followers
Twitter allows users to update their profile via their mobile phone either by text messaging or by apps released for certain smartphones and tablets. As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers. When you choose to follow another Twitter user, that user’s tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page. If you follow 20 people, you’ll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education. According to research published in April 2014, around 44 percent of user accounts have never tweeted.
Users can group posts together by topic or type by use of hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a “#” sign. Similarly, the “@” sign followed by a username is used for mentioning or replying to other users. To re-post a message from another Twitter user and share it with one’s own followers, a user can click the retweet button within the Tweet. The tweets were set to a largely constrictive 140-character limit for compatibility with SMS messaging, introducing the shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages.
A word, phrase or topic that is tagged at a greater rate than other tags is said to be a “trending topic”. Trending topics become popular either through a concerted effort by users, or because of an event that prompts people to talk about a specific topic. These topics help Twitter and their users to understand what is happening in the world. Trending topics are sometimes the result of concerted efforts and manipulations by preteen and teenaged fans of certain celebrities or cultural phenomena, particularly musicians like Lady Gaga(known as Little Monsters), Justin Bieber (Beliebers), and One Direction (Directioners), and fans of the Twilight (Twihards), Rihanna fans (Rih Navy), and Harry Potter (Potterheads) novels. Twitter has altered the trend algorithm in the past to prevent manipulation of this type to limited success.
The #1 Mistake Everybody Makes
A verified account formally validates the identity of the person or company that owns the account
The aim of the “verified” status is to prevent impersonation through the placement of a small blue checkmark by the top-right corner of a user’s page, or next to the username in the platform’s Search function. Twitter is responsible for assigning the blue checkmark, and it is frequently applied to the accounts of notable people in politics, music, movies, business, fashion, government, sports, media, and journalism.
The company raised US$200 million in new venture capital in December 2010, at a valuation of approximately US$3.7 billion. In March 2011, 35,000 Twitter shares sold for US$34.50 each on Sharespost, an implied valuation of US$7.8 billion. In August 2010 Twitter announced a “significant” investment lead by Digital Sky Technologies that, at US$800 million, was reported to be the largest venture round in history. In December 2011, the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal invested $300 million in Twitter. The company was valued at $8.4 billion at the time.
If you start a tweet with an @ symbol, that tweet only shows up in the feeds of the people who follow you AND the person you’re @ing. So if you want to start a tweet with an @handle, you need to put something in front of it so that you’re not leading with an @.