Everything you need to know about Twitter… In more than 140 characters.
"Tweeting" has almost become as ubiquitous a verb as "googling", but if you're not sure what Twitter even is, you may be at a loss for words (or characters). Here's everything you need to know about Twitter.
What is Twitter?
It's a social media platform, like Facebook, that lets users share quips, photos, videos, GIFs, and more, all in 140 characters or less. It was founded and launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.
It comes in both web and app form and is available for iOS and Android. There are also many third-party apps that help you manage your Twitter feeds more easily, like Tweetbot.
How does Twitter work?
Twitter runs on "Tweets" — 140-character posts that Twitter users make and then broadcast to all of their followers. You follow other Twitter users by creating your own profile and then searching for them or clicking "Follow" on suggested users.
Twitter also supports the addition of photos, short videos, and (most recently) GIFs, so you can jazz up your tweets to make them more appealing. When you follow people, all of their tweets will show up on your feed in a long, scrolling column. This makes Twitter somewhat ephemeral and designed for quick interaction.
You know the incredibly annoying trend where people say "hashtag" before something, out loud? You can thank Twitter for that! In order to group tweets and hopefully make your tweets for noticeable in the void that is the Twittersphere, you can add phrases or words to your tweets and precede them with the pound sign or "hashtag". This tags your tweet so that when people search Twitter for specific terms, your tweet pops up. #craycray #amirite?
Who's on Twitter?
Well, maybe not everybody, but there are roughly 328 million monthly active users, including celebrities, athletes, writers, artists, bands, and more. If you have a favorite actor or singer, chances are they have Twitter. In fact, celebrities will often tweet back to "regular" people. Kiss me, I'm Twitter famous.
I heard Twitter isn't long for this world. Is that true?
While it's true that Twitter has seen some rather slow growth in the last couple years and finished off 2016 $456 million in the hole, it's likely that the platform will be around in some incarnation or another for quite a while.
In fact, on the day of 2016 U.S. presidential election, 40 million election-related tweets were sent by 10 p.m., making Twitter the biggest source of breaking election news that day.
It's a thing... kind of. Twitter TV is going to be a 24/7 streaming service that offers everything from TV shows to regular, everyday people streaming their lives (á la Facebook Live).