Twitter, or "twttr" as it was originally named, started out as an SMS-based communications platform. It was a pet project by Jack Dorsey while he worked for Evan Williams and Biz Stone at Odeo.
When Jack sent his first message on March 21, 2006 at 9:50pm, I wonder if he know that his Tweet would soon be dubbed as such?
I have more verb translations of Tweeting and Tweets than I care to share, but the most honest question anyone asks of twitter is, "what is a Tweet?"
And when they Google it, only to get the definition back that defines a Tweet as a "chirping sound", a more modified search becomes: what is a Tweet on Twitter?"
Well Twitter gives us these two definitions:
- Tweet (verb): Tweet, tweeting, tweeted. The act of posting a message, often called a "Tweet", on Twitter.
- Tweet (noun) A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer.
Oh those pesky verb-nouns. Oops, I just used Google as a verb earlier, didn't I?
Let me put together some examples of using Tweet, the verb, in a sentence. I'll even limit them to 140 characters for the heck of it.
- I tweeted every big shot from last night's basketball game.
- I've been tweeting an awful lot lately.
- I'm going to Tweet the heck out of this conference.
- There's a whole lot of tweeting going on.
- If you're going to be tweeting all night, at least @ me in your Tweets!
As a sidenote, Twitter always capitalizes the word Tweet, and asks us bloggers to as well.
Now let's get into using Tweet, the noun, as a message / post / 140-character-or-less something.
- I sent a Tweet to my mom, and she hasn't answered me yet.
- Oh boy, did you see that new Tweet from [insert recent trainwreck celebrity]
- I'll send Tweets once a day for your small business
- The Tweets are coming, the Tweets are coming!
- I can't believe she posted that Tweet, she'll probably get fired!
And speaking of which, it's not uncommon for people to get fired for their Tweets. In fact, it's pretty common! Even colleges look you up in social media, and HR departments do their research before they hire you. But sending the "I hate my job" Tweet is never a good idea.
And now you might ask why the heck we're all only limited to 140 characters while Tumblr and even Facebook are out there running amok with their updates?
Well, the history of the 140 character limit on Tweets started because their original SMS platform was limited by mobile carriers to 140 characters at the time.
While SMS has evolved, Twitter has no plans to extend the length of Tweets. After all, that would take away the charm of finding ways to minimize your thoughts into carefully thought-out bite-sized pieces. Ain't nobody got time for epic updates anymore.
After all, don't you see enough daily diary posts from your sort-of-friends-but-not-really on Facebook?
In my previous posts on Retweets, Modified Tweets and Hat Tips, I proved that you can certainly fit a lot into a 140-character Tweet, but can you say something really profound? At the end of the year, Twitter posts their Golden Tweets, the ones that generated the highest number of Retweets that year. Here are some examples:
- @BarackObama: "Four more years."
- @TeamGB: "29 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze - We finished 3rd in medal table after most successful Olympics for 104 years#OurGreatestTeam RT your support"
- @Wendys: "RT for a good cause. Each retweet sends 50¢ to help kids in foster care. #TreatItFwd"
Now, the Wendy's Tweet above might not seem profound, but the $50,000 it raised for foster children in 2011 was!
To wrap this epic description of something that, itself, doesn't run any longer than 140 characters... go off and Tweet!