Putting Twitter To Use

When people first heard about Twitter, the reaction was more confused than anything else.  What was this new tool?  And better yet, why would I want to know what my best friend is eating for breakfast every morning?

Now, 14 million users are making the answer a lot clearer.  Last month, the site received 99 million webhits, as users logged on to read short messages published through computers and cell phones.  Individually, the short messages may make no sense.  But collectively, they are sending a much clearer message.  Even the most mundane of comments can prove useful.  Twitter is a perfect illustration of how we can use messaging to provide insight into a person’s mood via the digital medium. 

Many companies are finding use for Twitter.  Starbucks, Whole Foods, Dell, and others can now get an almost instantaneous reaction from their customers as they use their products.  Thus, they can adapt their marketing to fit the consumer’s thought process.  Twitter is even finding a use in the political arena as a tool for rallying protestors, as seen recently in Moldova.

Twitter is finding a use as a frontline news tool, not only for friends and family, but also for anyone who chooses to read it.  It was particularly useful in relaying information about the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and when the airplane landed on the Hudson River.  Before news crews even arrived, people were already twittering about the events.

Twitter was first introduced in 2006 when the founders were victims of an earthquake in San Francisco.  As they grabbed their cell phones to start alerting friends and loved ones that they were ok, they found that others were twittering as well – and thus, the phenomenon was born.  As the publicity surrounding Twitter grows, so to does the popularity – Twitter is now the third most popular social network behind Facebook and MySpace.

The future of Twitter seems to be limitless.  Twitter has found uses in the medical field, as doctors recently twittered their way through a 47 minute surgery; Dell recently found and repaired customer concerns on their Dell Mini laptop series; Starbucks customers now twitter their concerns or complaints rather than writing it down and dropping it in a suggestion box; and many new businesses are utilizing the tool to blast out about special offers and grand openings.

Twitter will soon feature a search box, where you can limit the results to certain keywords and view only related tweets.  Executives for the company are considering a plan to charge companies such as Starbucks for the use of the tool so that they can continue to operate the product at a maximum level.  In any event, as the popularity of Twitter grows, so too will its network.  Twitter may be in your home before you know it.

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