With blogs, Facebook status updates, and instant messaging, its hard to see at first why anybody would need a blogging service that places a 140 character limit on their blog post. Despite this, Twitter has a strong community of dedicated users all answering the question “What are you doing?”
Twitter allows users to post short and concise blog posts. Users can invite their friends and “follow” them similar to how Facebook users can add friends. Twitter users, however, can see all of their friend’s updates as well as their own. Twitter users can easily respond to “tweets” (the Twitter equivalent of a blog post) from other users and engage in conversation.
Because each “tweet” has to be less than 140 characters long, Twitter users can choose to have their follower’s “tweets” sent to their mobile phones. Users can also upload “tweets” via text messaging. There are actually a few instances where users have used the Twitter text message feature to avoid sticky situations (you have to click “Show Entire Post” at the top of the page… darn you, blogger).
Darren Rowse at problogger says that twitter is also useful for keeping in touch with people who read your blog. Many prominent bloggers, such as Kevin Rose of Digg, keep Twitter accounts to keep up with their readers. Some newspapers, such as the New York Times, post recently updated headlines on their twitter accounts (the Times has an account for World News, National News, Sports, ect.).
When blogging for ISA, I’ve used Twitter to keep people up to date on events that we’re hosting as well as alert people when there’s something new going on with our blog or our organization. It drives a lot of traffic to the blog and I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from using Twitter to keep people updated on the fly.