Twitter is a free online social network that enables users to share text of up to 140 characters at a time with followers. Often referred to as a microblogging site, Twitter has experienced rapid growth in users since its creation in 2006. Common tweets include: status updates, links to articles, links to multimedia (images and videos), location status, and quotes, to name a few.

How it works

Tweets: each post on the Twitter network is called a ‘Tweet’ which are limited to 140 characters. When someone sends a tweet, the text goes out to their network of followers.

Retweets: after a users sees a tweet from someone they follow, they can click the retweet button to send out the same tweet to their network of followers.

Hashtags: tagged words or phrases proceed by the # symbol in order to mark and track for Twitter searches. These can be anything from topics, to brand names, to themes a tweet might fall under. An example is #FF for “Follow Friday” where a users adds in the hashtag to their tweet during a Friday in order to suggest to other people follow the users listed in the tweet. See more information on hashtags here.

@Mentions: mentions are used to direct a tweet towards or about another user on twitter. For example if you use the term @BFMweb in a tweet, BFMweb (Blue Fountain Media’s Twitter account) would be notified and any followers would be able to click the mention.

Replies: users can reply to a tweet by simply click the reply button or adding the “@” in front of the username which they are replying to.

Twitter in Plain English [Video]

Twitter by The Numbers:

The below infographic breaks down various statistics about Twitter including demographics, growth numbers, and usage.

Twitter Infographic


Many companies and marketing agencies use twitter for promotional and branding purposes. Examples include offering deals and discount codes exclusively to Twitter followers like Dell and Starbucks have done in the past. In 2010, in effort to monetize its user base, Twitter began offering “promoted tweets” to companies for purchase which would appear in search results across Twitter.

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