The Telegraph for our Times
In an earlier time, when news was fresh and needed to be fast, it was often sent by telegraph. The messages were succinct and current. In 2006, the telegraph made a comeback in the form of Twitter. Today, it's the pulse of the planet. Presidential elections were influenced. Governments have been toppled. A stealth Navy Seal attack was documented by an unsuspecting neighbor of Osama Bin Laden who mused about the helicopters overhead.
Twitter is a bit of a different animal for most of us. Perhaps because we never really used telegrams. With over 200 million users, we better pay attention. So what is it? It's a website where you have 140 characters to leave messages, ask questions, engage new friends and have real-time conversations.
When you publish your message, also known as a "tweet," other users have several options. They can respond back to you. They can follow you. They can retweet your message to their followers, which could be the start of a viral wildfire if in turn their followers begin retweeting your message to their followers, and on and on. They can also continue the conversation by sending out a message of their own about your topic. Of course, there are also several potential combinations of those actions.
Twitter can be used to listen in on the conversations going on around the world on any topic. Using a hashtag (you may call it the pound sign or the tick tac toe board—it looks like this: #) you can look for keywords mentions. You may also put a hashtag in front of a keyword that you create to note an event (#ppaiexpo), a place (#chicago) or a topic (#QRCodes). By putting hashtags in front of keywords on your tweets, you will attract others who have interest in those topics and may attract additional followers.