News giant CNN and actor Ashton Kutcher made headlines last week, not to discuss the economic crises or war in Iraq, but to compete for more Twitter followers.
What exactly is this new Internet phenomenon? According to Twitter.com, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: ‘What are you doing?'”
The buzz regarding the social networking site has been everywhere recently – through the media, celebrities and news reports. Unlike MySpace and Facebook, Twitter has developed a newer outlet focused on bloggers.
Anyone can go on to Twitter.com and create an account for free. Just like MySpace and Facebook, there are tools to personalize your page and post pictures. Twitter users can follow not only other people’s updates, but news reports and celebrities’ updates as well.
Twitter has sparked so much popularity that it has already developed its own lingo. The word “tweet” is just another term for posting a blog.
According to NYTimes.com, “Twitter unleashes the diarist in its 14 million users, who visited its site 99 million times last month to read posts tapped out with cell-phones and computers.”
Although some people may think it’s just another site to have to update and maintain, most Twitter users like having the outlet to be able to speak their minds.
News establishments were the first to catch the Twitter craze, but celebrities were quick to follow. Ashton Kutcher proposed a race with CNN to be the first to have 1 million followers on their respective blogs. Whoever won agreed to donate $10,000 in honor of Malaria World Day. Kutcher ended up reaching 1 million first.
Actor Hugh Jackman has also gotten into the mix. He is allowing people to post the best reasons to give to a specific charity on his page. Jackman will decide which reason was best and will then donate $100,000 to it.
Recent statistics of Compete.com have shown that Twitter has risen greatly from 8 million users in February to 14 million in April.
Companies and businesses have also joined the Twitter band wagon with the goal of finding out what consumers think. Marketing skills are being changed to conform to tweets of complaints and advice. Companies currently employing this method include Starbucks and Dell.
Twitter even has lent intself to investors in the stock market with StockTwits.com. The page boasts numerous investors who post blog discussions on recent stocks and even give advice.
Magazines are also capitalizing on Twitter’s success. Many publications, such as Marie Claire, have fashion and gossip blogs that discuss recent trends and fashion faux pas.
Colleges and universities now have their own Twitters as well. Quinnipiac University’s page (@QuinnipiacUniv) updates its followers with news for students and faculty to tweet about.
Twitter has every outlet imaginable for people to blog about, and if there isn’t one that interests you – feel free to make your own!