Assignment 4 -Twitter Overview

Jacob Claven S3885825

Adrian Paglia S3886777

Natarjsha Kramer S3892539


Twitter has become one of the most rapid and simplistic forms of social media in today’s modern society. Throughout the brief history of social media, Twitter has emerged at the forefront as a market leader in social media, which allows anyone and everyone, to interact without boundaries. The twitter platform allows the user to interact via a variety of posts and content. Once a user publishes a post, dubbed a ‘tweet’, it can then be viewed by millions of other users worldwide. Best of all, it’s free!

The social media giant has experienced rapid growth from it’s inception and seems to have no opinions of slowing down with the site listed on the huffington post as one of the top ten most visited sites globally for 2012. For those new to social media, Twitter allows for a basic layout with minimal design or aesthetic variations and a sophisticated platform to create a social network. Throughout this overview of Twitter, we will look at the history, functions of the website and it’s adoption and growth.

The link below shows a relaxed, informal and intuitive overview of twitter, although it was uploaded over four years ago, the principles remain.


Since it’s first launch on July 15 2006, Twitter has grown to be one of the most powerful social media networks and currently has over 580 million registered users. Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone first began the free microblogging service, in March 2006, whilst employees of Odeo, they formed the idea of an internal instant messaging service.

Originally called Twttr, the name was inspired from the photo sharing site flickr, with other names such as FriendStalker and Dodgeball also considered. However the dictionary meaning of twitter “a short burst of inconsequential information” was a “perfect name, said Jack because that’s exactly what the product was.” (Picard, A 2011)

March 2007 was a turning point for Twitter when its popularity grew from 20,000 tweets to 60,000 per day, during a marketing ploy at the South by Southwest Interactive conference. By April 2007, Twitter became its own separate company.

In September 2010 Twitter began to update their sites design layout and features and introduced a new logo. The new features allowed links to be accessed directly from tweets without having to leave the Twitter site. By November 1st 2010 the ‘new Twitter experience’ had been launched.

Twitter is currently ranked the 9th in the world’s most visited websites and sees over 340 million tweets per day.

Why 140 characters? With sms carriers limit being 160, Twitter wanted to leave enough room to also incorporate a username. The broadcasts known as ‘tweets’, can be public or private and can contain links to videos, pictures and other users conversations.

Tweets can be made via the Twitter website or most commonly through external applications, such as smartphones. Users follow or subscribe to other users’ tweets, known as following or followers. Through the use of a hashtag (#) users can connect together by topic and the ‘@’ sign lets users mention or reply to another users posts. Users are also able to ‘retweet’ and share one of their followers’ tweets.

The hashtag feature available on Twitter allows for trending topics to be monitored. A word, phrase or topic can be tagged and the tagging allows Twitter and its users to understand what is happening and what is popular at a certain time within the world.

A verification program was launched by Twitter in 2008, which permitted public figures and business accounts to be verified. That in turn now enables users to easily distinguish between fake and real user accounts.

When Twitter relaunched its updated version in 2010 it incorporated features that increases the engagement of its users. These features include an email digest that is regularly distributed to registered users. The email contains following suggestions, top tweets, trending topics and top weekly stories.

Twitter’s relaunch also enabled third party applications such as Tweetie, Twitterrific and Feedalizr to send messages and the smartphone application incorporated features such as connect (@), discover (#) and search or invite friends through importing from other networks.

Advertising and using Twitter for business purposes is also made benefical through a number of features. Twitter widgets and ‘follow me’ buttons can be advertised on business websites and links numerous social media applications to promote and advertise businesses. Businesses can also monitor there followers and through advertising can gain access to analytics. (Gigaom, 2012)

For a visual history, Mashable have done it well

Differences to other social media

Twitter operates on a global level to the extent that allows interaction and news from across the globe to be so very easily accessed. This is in comparison to its most competitive counterpart Facebook. Facebook operates based around your individual page and the news feed that you select to see. Although similar to Twitter where the choice of whom you interact with is available, Facebook keeps you within your own personal bubble, showing photos and statuses of those who you have befriended. This is a similar system to twitter besides the fact that twitter can branch out to not only what your ‘followers’ are doing but also what the followers of your followers are doing, including trending items from across the globe.

Although Twitter is mainly based on text or ‘tweets’ some photo sharing still occurs, this is unlike Instagram which is a photo sharing application, which allows you to add tags to photos and post them in a feed. Using the same ‘following’, hash tagging and “@____online name” system as twitter it would seem Twitter revolutionised the way the social media language and sharing functions occurred. Unlike a Tumblr account, twitter has an organised and structured easy to use system to it, keeping its information easily assessable, Tumblr’s use of fancy pictures, posts, and even audio can be distracting and time consuming for the user who is simply trying to get their message out there. Of course the majority of social media is all interrelated and parts of one platform are sure to cross with others; in saying this, it would seem Twitter has been used as a base or template for new social media platforms, paying homage to certain traits that the Twitter world carries.

Adoption and Growth; Geographical and Demographical Information

Just like any other new website trying to make it amongst the already hundreds and thousands already existing, the launch of twitter in 2006 proved to be quite under whelming. It was only two years later that the site had finally taken off and looked promising for the future, reaching 1.3 million registered users. Escalating quickly across 48 months, the site had reached 200 registered users in September of 2011. This new fad in social media enabled Twitter to continue to build such a large user base, and are yet to loose or go backward in popularity. The individuals who adopted the use of such a site and were found they used it most frequently were usually aged between 18- 30 years old. However over 43% of twitter users are aged between 30-49 years old, meaning that the site reaches a wide range of users including middle aged individuals. Although popular worldwide, It would seem that some European countries such as Spain and London hold large numbers of twitter users along side the USA.

The idea behind Twitter is clever and has been extremely successful, however it will be interesting to note the changes in the future to meet the demands of the huge amount of clientele that interact with twitter everday.


GigaOM 2012, ’10 Twitter features you might be missing’, WordPress, viewed 27 September 2012, <>

Murthy, D 2011, ‘Twitter Microphone For the Masses’, Media Culture and Society, vol. 33, no.5, pp. 779 -789, viewed 26 September 2012, from Sage Journals Online. <>

Picard, A 2011, ‘The history of Twitter, 140 characters at a time’, The Globe and Mail , 20 March, viewed 27 September, retrieved from <>

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