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What Is Twitter, Anyway?

February 23, 2009

If you're new to Twitter, the site allows users to post text messages, called "tweets," to the web.  Tweets are text-based notes that can be no longer than 140 characters, about the length of a text message.  You can "follow" or read other people's tweets, and other people can follow yours. Twitter received tons of press this month.  The Shorty Awards, dedicated to honoring the “best producers of short* content in 2008" (*140 characters or less, on Twitter)” were held on February 11 in Brooklyn, NY.   RH Reality Check published an interesting twitter-related piece, "My Body, My Tweets," commenting on the frenzy over Erykah Badu’s tweets about her home birth.  The NY Times published a piece, “Twitter? It’s What You Make It,” and a NY Magazine article, "How Tweet It Is," profiled the San Francisco-based company.  Be sure to check out the picture on page 2 of the NY Magazine story—it features all men. PWV’er Deanna Zandt comments, “The interesting story that's not being told in these reports from the wild frontier is how women are using Twitter and other tools like it to connect—building relationships and networks that they need to be successful... in both business and life in general.”  You can find more from Deanna at  She’ll also be conducting a session on using Twitter for rapid response journalism at the upcoming Women, Action & The Media (WAM) conference at the end of March. If you’re interested in finding a progressive community on twitter, check out:  “The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter,” “#Digg it! A proposal for women of color, feminists, and progressives on Twitter,” and also, “Progressives Try to Match Conservatives on Twitter.”  News sites like, Reuters, and News Hour are all using Twitter as well.
Tags: Media