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What is Twitter?

Twitter is a service for communicating via the exchange of short, frequent messages. People write brief updates, called "tweets", using 140 characters or less. These messages can be posted on the Twitter website, a phone, or via a third party application. Once posted, tweets are sent to your followers, and are searchable using Twitter search.
Twitter messages started out being predominantly about "what are you doing?" In other words they were status updates to inform your friends (followers) about what you were up to, in case they wanted to join in. Nowadays, tweets serve multiple purposes. They can announce blog posts, provide lengthy conversations, and provide a powerful message replication platform.
Twitter is like one huge global chat room, but it doesn't have to be. It all depends on how many people you follow on Twitter. If you follow thousands of people, then your “Tweetstream” will be full of thousands of updates, more than you can ever hope to read. If you are only following a few hundred, then it is easier, to keep up with what people are tweeting.

Why would I want to use it?

Twitter is a great way to meet new people online, particularly those with similar interests to you. Whether you are making videos, promoting your website, want to see what your customers are saying about your brand or business, Twitter has become the main source of real-time information on the Web.
How will this book help?
This book will help you answer the following questions.

  1. Should I protect my updates?
  2. Will I tweet for for my business, myself, or both?
  3. What types of people should I follow?
  4. What types of things should I tweet about?
  5. How will I get people to follow me?

How is Twitter (the business itself) going to make money?
Before getting too involved in twitter, people often want to know how twitter is going to make money. Currently it is a privately funded company (they have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding), it is not yet clear how it will eventually pay the bills. Will they sell my information? Will my tweet stream be full of advertisements?
According to what Twitter has said to date, they are business plan involves providing services to brands. Likely this means that they will offer services to brands to secure their corporate names, provide analytics (like link tracking and advance follower metrics), as well as the ability to share accounts within an organization. It is not likely twitter will make money from advertisements. Ads don’t perform well in social networks, make the service harder to use, and historically Twitter has encouraged third-party applications to display tweets (without advertisements). However, this is all speculation.

Where can I find out about Twitter's Terms of Service?

Twitter's Terms of Service is available on the site, and the Twitter Rules are posted in the Support home page.