| By Ian “Gizmo” Richards |
You may believe that Twitter is just for self-obsessed Generation Y’s who think the whole world is actually interested in the fact that they just showered or bought a new shade of lipstick.
Well, you may need to update your viewpoint, because Twitter’s also a great way to share vital information with colleagues and co-workers.
Communicating in no more than 140 characters
Twitter isn’t the biggest social-network Web site; with an Alexa Rank of 54 (i.e., the 54th-most popular site on the Web), Twitter falls well behind Facebook, which comes in at number 5, and MySpace, number 9. However, Twitter’s growing much faster than either of its higher-ranking rivals.
The reason for Twitter’s astronomic growth lies in its simplicity. Unlike other social-network sites, Twitter is designed primarily to carry out a single function: to let your friends and other people in your network know what you’re doing right now. It works like this:
When you sign in to your Twitter account, there’s a simple box at the top of the screen labeled “What are you doing?” If you enter something in the box, your “tweet” is sent to everyone in your social network, which consists of anyone who has decided to “follow” you. Similarly, you may follow others and receive their tweets whenever they’re posted.
So every user has “followers” plus a separate group of people the user “follows.” In a close network of friends, the two groups may be the same; more commonly, the two groups overlap but are not identical.