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COMM 340: Cultures of New Media Casey Chan 10.16.08

What is Twitter?:

What is Twitter ? Launched in July 13, 2006 out of San Francisco, CA Real-time messaging broadcast system. It’s a popular, free online social-networking site that lets you broadcast and receive text based status-updates known as “tweets” that are limited to 140 characters in length with friends, family, and coworkers.

How does Twitter work?:

How does Twitter work? All you need is an internet connection or a mobile phone You can broadcast “tweets” using the Twitter website directly or through a third party application on your mobile phone or desktop client such as Twinkle or Twitterfox . Your status updates are displayed on your user profile and then sent to your friends or “followers.” Once you’re registered, you can pick and choose whose updates or “tweets” you want to follow amongst your friends a.k.a. your “followers.”

Why Twitter?:

Why Twitter? Main Purpose : It helps you stay in touch and keep tabs on friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Designed specifically for on-the-go/mobile use…anywhere and everywhere! Can receive updates via web browser, email, SMS text message, and/or phone call.

Why Twitter?:

Why Twitter? PERSONAL : Social Networking —helpful for staying in touch with a close-knit group of friends as long as you don’t mind being overly updated on their thoughts and/or actions.

Why Twitter?:

Why Twitter ? BUSINESS : Recognized as a valuable Viral Marketing Tool for companies who want to spread the word, keep the buzz going, or simply maintain hype. Publicity —Obama ’08 Campaign, AMC’s Mad Men , CNN, NYTimes , The Today Show etc. Social Demonstration —protests and activism (ex. Republican National Convention ’08 Protests in Minneapolis) Breaking News —journalism & even celebrity sightings… Emergency —July 2008 Los Angeles Earthquake, October 2007 L.A. County Wildfires, 2008 China Earthquake

A Few Interesting Tidbits…:

A Few Interesting Tidbits… 2,200,000 accounts were registered on Twitter (as of July 2008) A version of Twitter in Japanese launched on April 22, 2008 It spawned a Twitter-centric ecosystem of websites : Twhirl —Desktop client for Twitter Tweetclouds —Creates a word cloud from a public Twitter stream TweetScan —Search engine for Twitter Twittervision —A real-time geographic visualization of posts to Twitter Twitterfone —Voice-to-Twitter service that allows you to send messages with your voice Twitterholic —Charts the top 100 Twitter users Twitterrific —MAC OS X, iPhone , and iPod Touch Client for Twitter

A Few Interesting Tidbits…:

A Few Interesting Tidbits… In July 2008—when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake shook Los Angeles one lady was in the midst of a gynecological exam and immediately twittered about it. MissRFTC tweeted, “I am totally serious. My Ob/ Gyn was IN my vagina and an earthquake started rattling the room!” In April 2008—a UC Berkeley Grad Student twittered his way out of Egyptian jail when he was arrested while covering an anti-government protest in Mahalla, Egypt with the one word “tweet”—arrested—from his cell phone, which alerted his friends and family back home.

Issues Raised…:

Issues Raised… Facilitates hyper-connectivity with an overload of information (too much info…) From the Wall Street Journal , “"These social-networking services elicit mixed feelings in the technology-savvy people who have been their early adopters. Fans say they are a good way to keep in touch with busy friends. But some users are starting to feel 'too' connected, as they grapple with check-in messages at odd hours, higher cell phone bills and the need to tell acquaintances to stop announcing what they're having for dinner." Addictiveness that is similar to Facebook or MySpace. Technical Issues and Instability —major downtime, sudden crashes, trafficking issues, and errors which has frustrated tons of its users.


Videos… Twitter in Plain English by CommonCraft : The Twitter Song: Twitter by Lisa Nova: Part 1: Twitter on CSI:


Links… Election & Twitter: “What is Twitter?”— Tweeternet :  Wikipedia Article: Twitter Guide Part#1: What is Twitter?: WSJ Article: Friends Swap Twitters, and Frustration: TIME article:,8599,1603637,00.html U.S. Student Twitters Out of Egyptian Jail: LA Earthquake Incident: Funny Twitter: Mad Men:

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