Do you Tweet? Have you Twittered? Do you know about the Fail Whale? Twitterific or Twitterfon? Twitterberry? Tweetdeck? Twhirl? TwitPic?
If you’re not completely lost then you must know about the social media phenom called Twitter. It’s technically a micro-blogging system. What this means is that instead of writing hundreds of words for a blog (like this one), you have just 140 characters in which do answer “What are you doing now?” for anyone who’s listening. In reality it’s used for just about everything from micro-blogging to customer service to finding jobs etc.
It’s like Facebook in terms of having some privacy options, allowing for followers and private timelines and yet in the absense of the private timeline you can see what a person has been doing by simply knowing their Twitter name. For example, visit http://twitter.com/jeffrose and you can see everything I have posted in the past.
Twitter’s growth has been incredible with figures reported that they have been doubling growth in a single month. Recently, Ashton Kutcher fought it out with CNN to get 1,000,000 followers and won. That’s right, celebrities use it for real! You can keep up to date with Brittney or Ashton and Demi, or Shaq, provided you can find their REAL account among the usual fakery. They are out there. I had to turn of Ashton and Demi because they just weren’t that interesting. Sorry guys.
Twitter’s growth has caused a lot of problems recently in that their site is often down or slow resulting in the notorious Fail Whale shown to the left. This is their page that says that something is wrong. They’ve got quite a sense of humor and show an owl asking you to “mosey along” when you find a page that’s been suspended for some reason.
Since Twitter has been growing so fast and because they provide a nice open API there are tons of third-party clients, tools and site available to assist with various tasks. Many attempt to fill in missing features, add more features or improve on existing features. I mentioned several at the top and don’t profess to be an expert, but I’ll share my experiences with you.
TweetDeck and Twhirl are 2 Windows based desktop applications that use the Adobe Air platform. I use both and they have several differences. Tweetdeck takes a semi-tabbed approach and lets you create groups for various uses. I have a Van Folks group, a developers group etc. This lets me more easily follow people or conversations I care about. That’s one of the main benefits of TweetDeck. Twhirl’s main benefit (as far as I use it) is that you can have multiple Twitter accounts setup and open simultaneously in it. I have mine, Rumble’s and West Coast Favors (defunct) setup. Yep, Rumble Tweets.
HootSuite is a website that lets you manage multiple Twitter accounts and even pre-schedule Tweets to go out when you’re not around. Great if you’re going to be away. HootSuite offers lots of other options too such as a bookmarklet that lets you instantly Tweet out a website you discover by just clicking a bookmark and you can share it with everyone.
On my iPod Touch, I use Twitterific and Twitterfon and have heard good things about Tweetie (which is not free). Twitterific just released version 2 and offers a lot for it’s price (Free) and works really well.
Every day, Twitter grows. Every day, new applications appear to add more and more features. Biz Stone, founder of Twitter, recently talked about the need for Twitter to make money but how they don’t want to resort to classic banner advertising.
As I think about it, the vast majority of people I know use Twitter through an external service like those mentioned above and therefore Twitter’s monetization will have to no rely on on-page advertising since quite a few people won’t see it, thus reducing impressions and the effectiveness of advertising.