"Yikes - lithium battery in iPod nano caught fire in this guy's pocket" -- whatsnext
"Eyeglasses: I just found out I need glasses. This is a traumatic moment..." -- SethGodin
"There's an 18-wheeler going backwards on the exit ramp of I95, sweet!" -- JSutterfield
These are all typical tweets that you'll see from folks on Twitter. After starting my own account this week and asking friends if they had their own accounts, I received a myriad of "Umm..what's that?" replies. So here's the Cliff's Notes edition:
Twitter is a free social networking / micro-blogging hybrid where instead of providing paragraphs of copy you only have 140 characters to express yourself. Each post is commonly known as a tweet and you can post from the site itself, SMS, IM, email and third party apps like Twitbin. I described it to a friend as a giant IM session that never ends.
Over the last couple of months, Twitter and other micro-blogging sites have garnered quite a bit of exposure, especially after Google entered the fray by gobbling up Jaiku.
Adam Ostrow at Mashable.com had this to say on the matter:
This is somewhat surprising news considering the perceived dominance of Twitter in the so-called “lifestreaming” space. Additionally, Twitter is co-founded by Evan Williams, who was the creator of Blogger, which was previously acquired by Google. In a world where price is no object for Google, it’s interesting that they would opt for Jaiku and not Twitter.
Some from the Google-is-EVIL party have been screaming from their perch that this is one more move for Google to effectively know everything about everyone and thus take them one step closer to world domination through mobile communication. I just say this is another way for Google to take a good product and make it even better for the people. Maybe I'm swimming in the Kool-aid, but I digress.
After a week of using Twitter I can say that it is a great networking tool at the very least. People are posting interesting nuggets all the time which lead to fascinating sites, great articles, or just random thoughts of genius. News outlets like CNN, BBC, ESPN and the NYTimes and are using Twitter basically as an RSS stream while other companies are starting to use Twitter as a good medium for press releases.
You can expect to see more companies and agencies hopping into the mix over the coming months and start experimenting with how to message their core audience in a way that won't alienate them. I think the key here is to be authentic and transparent, lest we forget frequent floggers like Sony and Wal-Mart.