Twitter: Pop Star 2008
What do Sen. Barrack Obama, the founder of Digg.com Kevin Rose, technology journalist Leo Laporte, CNN Breaking News, and TV personality Alex Albrecht have in common? They are the most popular, most followed, Twitter users. Twitter is a micro-blogging and social network that allows users to update others with text posts, also known as tweets, of up to 140 characters. In recent months, Twitter received a surge of press due to prominent users like Sen. Barrack Obama, who tweets by updating followers with campaign trail progress and broadcasting his RSS feed. The international media coverage turned Twitter’s 2006 launch of 10 users, who all worked for its founding San Francisco based company Obvious, LLC, into over three million present users. Twitter, however, is not limited to the web. Users do have the option to post updates via Twitter.com, but more uniquely they can tweet through the following applications: Web browser bars such as Firefox’s TweetBar; instant messaging services; PC or Mac widgets; and their mobile phones via SMS text messaging, Blackberry or iPhone applications (About).
“[Twitter] is so many different things to so many different people,” explains the social network’s CEO Jack Dorsey. The framework’s intentional malleability arose because Dorsey was fascinated by bike messengers, taxi cabs, and ambulances’ reliance on real-time updates to their stations and fellow co-workers; and the parallel habits of civilians giving real-time updates through their personalized instant message away statuses and frequency of sending and answering a common text message, “What are you doing?” Twitter is a hybrid of Dorsey’s fascination with real-time updates that can occur anywhere in the world, whether one is sitting by the computer or not, and answering the question “What are you doing,” which is clearly posted on the site’s homepage (Jack).
Twitter is iconic, or will be, in media studies because it addresses...