FROM THE BLOG

What is Twitter Anyway?

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Twitter is the brainchild of Jack Dorsey (@Jack), Biz Stone (@Biz), Evan Williams (@Ev) and Noah Glass (@Noah).

Like many game-changing things in our history, Twitter was created by accident.

Sort of.  I don’t mean they left a collection of random lines of code in git overnight and in the morning they came in to find a social media platform had emerged.  The team that developed it set up shop in Silicone Valley and were building an Angel Funded Project Management tool.

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The team worked in coffee shops, parks, their homes and, of course, the office.  This is a great way to inspire developers and get the best out of your team by the way.  But keeping track of people became tricky so they whipped up an in-house communication tool.  They called it TWTTR.  It was a simple text stream with user names and a character limit to keeps communications to the point.

Were you working in Starbucks until lunchtime?  No problem; put it on TWTTR and the team will know where you are.  That team loved the application so much that before long it spread outside of the business, with the families of staff soon added to the list of users.

They were smart enough to know what they had and decided to focus their efforts on developing and sharing it with the world.  They gave back the investment money, called time on the project management software endeavour and began developing the newly renamed Twitter. Fast forward a decade and Twitter has over 300 million active users and growing, with near-global reach.

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But what is it?  It is a social media platform.  Users sign up and find other users whose thoughts and information they want to hear about.  You follow them.  Then you write things, Tweets, which are 140 characters long.  Anyone who finds them interesting will follow your account. You can search the content of Twitter, just like Google, to find people and information.

Now you have a twitter feed.  This is like your own customised news ticker, updating whenever anyone you are following sends out a new tweet. So what’s the point?  Well, why watch the news or have conversations with your friends?  It’s informative, engaging, amusing and easy to digest.

From a business point of view, it is a great place to engage with your customers, find potential customers and learn about your competitors.  Find out what they are talking about, what they need and join the conversation. Lot’s of businesses use Twitter as a customer service channel, just like a call centre or email account.  It also affects Search Engine Optimisation.  There has been some debate on that, but it’s true.  Broadly speaking, the more Tweets containing a URL from your site, the higher that URL can appear in search results.  For a relevant search term, of course.

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There isn’t a marketing team worth their salt without a corporate Twitter account anymore.  Everything you need to know about setting up an account and using it you can find out here.  But if you want to know how to use it effectively or strategically, then get in touch with us, here.

Or of course, you could follow us on Twitter

 

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