What is twitter?

One of the hottest sites on the web for more than a year is twitter, but what is Twitter? – I’ve tried a few times to explain it, and while it may be a fun task, it has often become quite a mess. This is an attempt to capture the most successful explanation of twitter.

The core of Twitter is a combination of three different characteristics:

  • Twitter is like a blog – An author publish content. It may be personal, it may be themed, it may be interessting – there are no set rules for the contents except those set by the author.
  • Twitter is like an SMS – There are a 140 character limit on each piece of content. If you need more, you need to split contents in several “twits”.
  • Twitter is a network – It’s no just a website. Through build in services and APIs you can connect with twitter through SMS, desktop clients, Instant messaging and many other ways. Besides a technical network, it’s also a social network where you can follow other interesting users, communicate with other users (private or in public).

That’s pretty much the core.

There are a lot of other features stuff you can do, and while many has public feeds, you can even choose to keep you twittering private and only allow people you authorize to see you contents on twitter.

Another interesting use of twitter is when applications start interacting with it. When I post contents on the WordPress-based blog, a twit is automatically posted announcing it and thus twitter may in some extend be an alternative to my RSS feeds. See also iWantSandy of an interesting application interaction through twitter.

If you want to follow my ramblings on Twitter go ahead, they’re public.
If you have a better definition of what twitter is, please post a comment.