As of April 2012, Twitter gained a worldwide following of over 500 million people who generate nearly 340 million tweets daily. For those familiar with the immense popularity of this social networking site, this should come as no surprise; however, there is still a large faction that does not see the point in Twitter’s mini-life updates. In 160 characters or less, users can give a play by play of their morning coffee run or announce important bits of news. The concept is incredibly streamlined and simple, which explains why it is one of the top ten most visited websites on the Internet. While some might not see the point in Twitter, the site really is a sign of the times.
Every social media site has a certain niche. Facebook provides detailed descriptions of interests and immense photo collections. It even promotes communication between old friends. Foursquare tells users your every location with the option of a picture or blurb attachment. Tumblr is for the creative souls looking for an outlet. Twitter provides a very narrow niche. It allows users to ‘tweet,’ in 160 characters or less, whatever they feel at that moment. Once posted, the tweet can be seen by all of the users followers. In return, any time the users that you are following tweet, their blurbs show up on your personal twitter page.
Because of the short, often meaningless nature of the short tweets, it is hard for many to see any value in Twitter. According to an analysis by Pear Analytics, over 40% of what is posted on Twitter is classified as ‘pointless babble,’ followed by conversational tweets, self-promotion, and spam. But remember, one person’s pointless babble may be the insights and musings into the daily lives of the users. Twitter is one of the purest forms of self-expression available on the Internet today. The limit of 160 characters promotes concise insights into the daily lives of friends and celebrities.
Another addition in the past few years to make Twitter even more unique is the addition of hashtags (#). This is a way that users can add tags or witty phrases into their daily tweets. For example, a tweet may read, “This guy just walked up to me and didn’t say anything #creeperalert.” These hashtags are just another way that users personalize their individual accounts, as well as being a form of self-branding with different styles of humor.
There are plenty of naysayers out there about social media in general, and Twitter often gets a bad rap. People simply ‘don’t care’ about these insights into people’s mundane daily lives; however, with over 500 million users, there must be an appeal. Twitter as a social media outlet is a definite sign of the times. It is simple human nature to be curious about our friends’ daily lives, and Twitter provides an outlet for that. Still a skeptic of Twitter? Visit twitter.com today, and create one for yourself to see what all the hype is about. Happy tweeting!