Twitter is an online service that allows you to share updates with other users by answering one simple question: "What are you doing?"
In order to use Twitter, you must first sign up for a free account. Once you have created your account, you can post your own updates and view the updates others have posted. You can search for people to follow or you can let Twitter select random users. Once you have selected a number of users, their most recent posts, or "tweets," will show up on your Twitter home page. Likewise, your own latest tweets will show up on the home pages of people who have decided to follow you.
Twitter limits each tweet to 140 characters, which means there is no room for rambling. Of course, in this era of limited attention spans, 140 characters may be as much as other users want to read anyway. The character limit is also within the 160 character limit of SMS text messages. This is useful, since tweets can be sent to Twitter using mobile phones. To Twitter via your cell phone, you simply need to add your phone number in the "Devices" area of the Twitter Settings page.
Since most people have frequent access to a computer or cell phone, Twitter makes it possible to provide others with frequent updates about your life. Many people also use Twitter to blog about the news, politics, TV shows, or any other hot topic. Some people even use it to share their thoughts on lectures or sermons. So Twitter posts are certainly not limited to answering the question, "What are you doing?"
Twitter has become the next hot trend in social networking. While it is not as functional as Facebook or MySpace, Twitter's appeal lies within its simplicity. It allows friends, family, and complete strangers to stay connected through quick updates that only take a couple of seconds to write. Therefore, if you like to feel connected to others, but have limited time, Twitter might be just be for you.
While "Twitter" is a noun, in can also be used as a verb. For example, "He twitters at least five times a day." To learn more about Twitter or to sign up for an account, visit Twitter.com.
Updated: March 19, 2009