Twitter is a "microblogging" service introduced in 2006, where users post 280-character "tweets".note They can be mundane reporting on their life, a wry one-liner, or the start of an Internet campaign that will snowball and end up with international media coverage. Really, for just 280 characters, there's lots of potential.
The site's open, public API allows for its adaptation and use on many different platforms. Android, iPhone, browser extension, desktop software, mobile phone... you can tweet from just about every device going. Hell, you can even monitor tweets with a typewriter!
The site is trendy. The real-time search function, which allows you to search all (public) tweets being made for any word or phrase you wish, is one of the most popular aspects of the site. This is combined with the "trending topics", a list of the ten most popular topics at the moment, based on how much they're being tweeted about. This list of trending topics will almost always include Justin Bieber, at least until Twitter supposedly banned his name from trending and his fans made "let Bieber trend" a trend instead. When they were no longer able to do that, they resorted to trends like "Bustin Jieber". Still, Justin Bieber related topics trend almost every day, and in 2012, they were joined by topics about British-Irish boy band One Direction.
Twitter has gotten a lot of media attention. Major events tend to be covered rapidly through the system, and it has become hip in Hollywood for a celebrity to have a Twitter account. Twitter nicknames get given out like email addresses. In fact, despite the Bieber/1Dmania, Twitter appears to be the first Friending Network type site (aside from work-oriented LinkedIn) in which thirtysomething media professionals outnumber teenagers. As of this writing, it is widely considered the most prolific social media platform on the internet, to the extent where its userbase is capable of having major impacts on the outside world, for better or for worse.
In late September 2017, for some users, Twitter increased the character count to 280. On November 7th, they finally enabled the option to everyone, replacing the previous, classic limit.
On April 25th, 2022, Twitter agreed to a $44 billion takeover offer by Elon Musk (owner of Tesla Motors and SpaceX); however, Musk abandoned the takeover three months later, prompting Twitter to sue Musk to enforce the acquisition.
Works hosted on Twitter
- Big Break (2019)
- Camp Counselor Jason
- The Classic Doctor Who Twitter Blog
- Little Nuns
- make up a guy
- Marijuana Simpson
- Mikado Stick
- The Puppets Game
- Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter
- The Sun Vanished
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: When tweets were 140 characters, users often employed acronyms and abbreviations to fit the character limit. It got to the point where only avid Twitter users could understand what's happening, so Twitter eventually extended the character limit. Most of these shortcut words still persist, though they're used less often.
- Balance Buff: In 2017, Twitter reworked the character limit to get users of foreign-script languages (particularly East Asian languages, which can convey more in less characters) on even ground with those who don't use those languages, as multibyte characters each count as 2 characters under this new limit, while standard ASCII characters continue to count as 1 character. If you don't use any multibyte characters, you can put up to 280 characters into one tweet, but if you write entirely in Japanese, for example, you can still tweet only 140 characters.
- Beige Prose: It's impressive how much you can say within 280 characters, and even in 140 characters when it was the limit. Japanese and Chinese users can fit even more information into the limit due to how their language works.
- Game-Breaking Bug:
- As of August 31st, 2010, this has happened to any Twitter application only using Basic Authentication.
- The new OAuth implementation is broken itself. It basically requires the identification keys to be hard-coded into the clients, and Twitter has announced they are going to be de-authenticating compromised keys. And, yeah, the keys to the official Twitter client for Android are a string dump away.
- As if they weren't already suffering from an overly severe buttmonkeydom, Zune users had to wait 2 weeks for their official app to be fixed after the switchover.
- As of June 7, 2013, any app that does not use the current version 1.1 API is dead, as Twitter permanently shut off API 1.0. While some developers will take notice and update their clients to use the new API, you may as well uninstall any long-abandoned clients that you use.
- Twitter for iPad does not allow you to accept follow requests for private accounts; you simply get a "forbidden" error. There have been no efforts to rectify this bug, even though it has existed for well over a year.