Designed to discover and share knowledge of what is happening now, Twitter has been adopted by webmasters as a mean to publicize their site, as the tweets contain links to more detailed articles.
Twitter helps it really to increase the traffic to a website? Why did it became so successful?
History and idea
The creators of the site did not come from nowhere: one was the founder of the blog platform Blogger, acquired by Google in 2003.
The idea is to allow users to say a few words about what they are doing. The original name was stat.us, then twittr to imitate Flickr, the site of photos sharing, and then Twitter.
Tweet in English is a small song of a bird. Bird tweet to alert other to their state of mind and to what happens around.
The site opened July 13, 2006 and has since 2008 a surge of trafic. The slogan "What are you doing" became thereafter "What's happening?". Because users use it to comment on the news more than speaking about themselves.
An example of misuse is the events of Iran when Twitter has become the main way to tell what was happening in a country entirely censored.
Twitter traffic is steadily increasing since late 2006 and reached 13% growth per month in March 2009 and then fell to 7% in July and ended at 3.5% in October. Growth continued until March 2011.
According to Hubspot, the growth is international, and 80% of users follow less than 100 members.
For Compete, 42% of users are between 35 and 49. 25% are over. (February 2009).
What you should know about Twitter
- Messages, the tweets, have 140 characters and can contain one or more links, keyword preceded by the symbol # and dedications preceded by the symbol @.
- Links when too long are automatically replaced by a short URL that redirects to the page.
- Each member may follow (following) other members and is itself followed (followers). When we follow other members, their tweets are displayed on the homepage next to our own tweets.
But those who looks on the page of a member can only see tweets from it and not those of his followings.
- It is also possible to make private messages displayed only to the holder of the account, once connected.
- Retweets monitor messages posted on his page: the syntax is RT @xxxx where xxxx is the name of the member to whom we send the message.
- The list brings together groups of members in a category. Their tweets are displayed when you select the list. It can be taken globally by other accounts.
- Twitter is regularly cited among the sites that help in SEO, providing to spent a lot of time... you could as well spent to the content!
- The traffic that Twitter can provide depends largely on the number of followers. They read your messages and can "retweet" them.
- The traffic also depends on the news. All messages covering a news appear in searches.
- There are tools to help increase the number of followers.
- Tweets can be displayed on the pages of a website.
- Local applications can view and send messages without connecting to his account.
- Influential members, bloggers and celebrities, have a large number of followers and a relatively small number of followings.
- The reverse tends to characterize the spammer if the number of followers is meaningless.
- The influence of a member does not depend directly on the number of followers, but on the number of retweets, which can be very different.
- Some members practice tasting: they follow many members each day and remove the link if there is no reciprocal inscription quickly enough.
- Twitter offers an API for programming scripts. It can automatically send tweets and read them (with volume constraints).
- Twitter button on a page allows users to generate a tweet on their own account.
- A contest for a business may be put on a Twitter account. Members must tweet the contest to participate and that make a viral publicity to the company.
- Twitter collects information on members and sells it to other companies.
- It is a means of spreading news, but there have been unfounded rumors that have experienced a wave on Twitter.
- Twitter is powered by the Scala programming language which run on the Java virtual machine.
Some people get rich by studying artificial intellignece. Me, I make money studying natural stupidity.
Scripts and useful tools
- Open source software that run Twitter. On Github.
- Does Follow. For anxious persons, an online tool that checks that those you follow, follow you too.
- Twellow. Members directory ordered by category, helps to find people to follow.
- Tweetdeck. Directory of members and client to add message without connecting.
- Qwitter. Alerts you by email when a follower leaves you.
- Tweetbutton. Twitter now provide a tweet button like that of Tweetmeme (which of course is now closed).
- Bookmarklet. Allows to tweet page on other sites.
- Wispy.me. Displays a tag cloud of a user account and shows its interests.
- Storm. Twitter becomes open source.
More precisely, the system that manages real-time messages, Storm, has its source code distributed on GitHub.
This is an API you may use with any programming language.