What is it?

Twitter is an online social networking and blogging service that enables users to send and receive "tweets," which are messages limited to 140 characters. Tweets can also be pictures and video. Unregistered users can read tweets, but cannot respond to tweets.

How Does it Work?

Twitter uses a lot of open-source software. The Twitter Web interface uses the Ruby on Rails framework. In 2011, Twitter switched to a new Java search track server called Blender. Twitter's application programming interface (API) allows other web services (like Facebook, and Youtube) to be integrated. Individual tweets are registered under unique IDs using software called "snowflake." The tweets are then stored in a MySQL database.

How is it Used?

Twitter is used largely for news and marketing purposes. Tweets are just long enough to post a tagline from an article and a shortened URL to the website hosting said article. They're also used to great effect in marketing. It's a cheap and efficient way to personally contact a firm's "fans" or customers. The service allows the customer to engage in open dialogues with businesses to complain about issues or show appreciation for their services. Twitter has also opened up dialogue between fans and celebrities.



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