Twitter is the internet address to a social networking website of a company called Twitter Inc. It allows registered users to publish information (tweets limited to 140 characters, provided by a user through their web browser (or smart phone).  

The limited style of the site is also referred to as a micro-blogging website. Tweets are presented in a chronological order with the most recent at the top.

Screen captures of a typical twitter website. 1. indicates the home user interface when logged into the site. 2. indicates the 'public view' of the twitter publisher. image: R.Conan-Davies

How does it work.

The information published is typically viewed via a computer or smartphone through the website or via embedded samples of the twitter website on other websites. Tweets from others are  highlighted to others that 'follow' updates of a particular publisher.

Like other social networking websites, it provides a user with a place to publish information for other users to view.  

This is done in exchange for advertisers to place ads, for money,  for potential viewers to view information about goods and services with the hope that a user will click on the ad and purchase the goods or service.

Twitter is a kind of publishing platform that relies on a large user base to create larger numbers of people to target advertising.

This is an embedded twitter feed for ClearlyExplained.Com

Twitter as a broadcast social media

Twitter tends to be more effective when viewed as a broadcast model. Hence the term 'tweet'. An individual or organisation that is well known or popular in the real world tends to accumulate large numbers of followers. This then allows advertisers to target 'sponsored tweets' more effectively. 

So for example if a person follows a celebrity or band twitter may be able to recommend or sponsor related to tweets to that type of audience.

Origins of twitter

Twitter's origins lie in a "daylong brainstorming session" held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. Dorsey, then an undergraduate student at New York University, introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group. 

 The original project code name for the service was twttr, an idea that Williams later ascribed to Noah Glass, inspired by Flickr and the five-character length of American SMS short codes. The developers initially considered "10958" as a short code, but later changed it to "40404" for "ease of use and memorability."

Work on the project started on March 21, 2006, when Dorsey published the first Twitter message at 9:50 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST): "just setting up my twttr". Dorsey has explained the origin of the "Twitter" title:

...we came across the word 'twitter', and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was.

The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber, was used as an internal service for Odeo employees and the full version was introduced publicly on July 15, 2006.


For more details on the company see also: