What Is Twitter & How Does It Work?

Twitter is a blend of social media, blogging, and texting

Twitter bird logo icon

 Twitter

Twitter is an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short messages called tweets. Tweeting is posting short messages for anyone who follows you on Twitter, with the hope that your messages are useful and interesting to someone in your audience. Another description of Twitter and tweeting might be microblogging.

Some people use Twitter to discover interesting people and companies online, opting to follow their tweets.

Why Twitter Is So Popular

In addition to its relative novelty, Twitter's big appeal is how scan-friendly it is: You can track hundreds of interesting Twitter users and read their content with a glance. This is ideal for our modern attention-deficit world.

Twitter employs a purposeful message size restriction to keep things scan-friendly: every microblog tweet entry is limited to 280 characters or less. This size cap promotes the focused and clever use of language, which makes tweets easy to scan, and challenging to write. This size restriction made Twitter a popular social tool.

How Twitter Works

Twitter is easy to use as either broadcaster or receiver. You join with a free account and Twitter name. Then you send broadcasts (tweets) daily, hourly, or as frequently as you like. Go to the "What's Happening" box, type 280 or fewer characters, and click Tweet. People who follow you, and potentially others who don't, will see your tweet.

Encourage people you know to follow you and receive your tweets in their Twitter feeds. Let your friends know you are on Twitter to slowly build up a following. When people follow you, Twitter etiquette calls for you to follow them back.

To receive Twitter feeds, find someone interesting (celebrities included) and press Follow to subscribe to their tweets. If their tweets aren't as interesting as you thought they'd be, select Unfollow.

Go to your account at Twitter.com day or night to read your Twitter feed, which is constantly changing as people post.

Twitter is that simple.

Why People Tweet

People send tweets for all sorts of reasons: vanity, attention, shameless self-promotion of their web pages, or simple boredom. The great majority of tweeters microblog recreationally. It's a chance to shout out to the world and revel in how many people read their tweets.

However, a growing number of Twitter users send out useful content, and that's the real value of Twitter. It provides a stream of quick updates from friends, family, scholars, news journalists, and experts. It empowers people to become amateur journalists of life, describing and sharing something that they found interesting about their day.

A lot of drivel is on Twitter, but at the same time, there is a base of useful news and knowledgeable content. You'll need to decide for yourself which content is worth following there.

Twitter as a Form of Amateur News Reporting

Among other things, Twitter is a way to learn about the world through another person's eyes.

Tweets may come from people in Thailand as their cities become flooded, from your soldier cousin in Afghanistan who describes his war experiences, from your traveling sister in Europe who shares her daily discoveries online, or from a rugby friend at the Rugby World Cup. These microbloggers are all mini-journalists in their own way, and Twitter gives them a platform to send a constant stream of updates right from their laptops and smartphones.

Twitter as a Marketing Tool

Thousands of people advertise their recruiting services, consulting businesses, and retail stores by using Twitter, and it works.

The modern internet-savvy user has grown tired of television advertisements. People prefer advertising that is fast, less intrusive, and can be turned on or off at will. Twitter is exactly that. When you learn how the nuances of tweeting work, you can get good advertising results by using Twitter.

Twitter as a Social Messaging Tool

Yes, Twitter is social media, but it's more than instant messaging. Twitter is about discovering interesting people around the world. It can also be about building a following of people who are interested in you and your work or hobbies and then providing those followers with some knowledge value every day.

Whether you are a hardcore scuba diver who wants to share your Caribbean adventures with other divers or you are Ashton Kutcher entertaining your fans, Twitter is a way to maintain a low-maintenance social connection with others and maybe influence other people in a small or big way.

Why Celebrities Like Twitter

Twitter has become one of the most used social media platforms because it is both personal and rapid. Celebrities use Twitter to build a personal connection with their fans.

Katy Perry, Ellen DeGeneres, and President Trump are some of the famous Twitter users. Their daily updates foster a sense of connectedness with their followers, which is powerful for advertising purposes and also compelling and motivating for the people who following the celebs.

Twitter Is Many Different Things

Twitter is a blend of instant messaging, blogging, and texting, but with brief content and a broad audience. If you fancy yourself a bit of a writer with something to say, then Twitter is a channel worth exploring. If you don't like to write but are curious about a celebrity, a particular hobby topic, or even a long-lost cousin, then Twitter is one way to connect with that person or topic.