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The growth of social networks has witnessed the entry of Twitter into the market. Twitter provides microblogging service, which enables its subscribers to receive and send short messages of less than 140 characters. The messages are popularly referred to as ‘tweets’ by bloggers. Twitter vies for subscribers with Facebook, Youtube, Myspace and Google +.
Key stakeholders in Twitter
Established in early 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter was launched four weeks later. Twitter rapidly appealed to more subscribers across the world, attracting 0.2 billion members barely five years after its launch. Although, tweeting is free of charge, when one enjoys the services through short message texts on the phone, telephony companies may be obliged to levy some charges on users.
Further, users may make subscriptions to fellow friends’ Internet feeds on the site, a process referred to as following and follower services for the message senders and recipients respectively.
How Twitter works
The site is of late handling the publication of more than 200 million posts and handling almost ten times the number of searches every day. Owing to the extraordinary tweeting services, many have referred to the company as the medium for conveying short message services. The firm that manages the online networking site is situated in San Francisco; however, some servers and property are based in other cities which include New York City, and San Antonio in the United States (Rogers, 2003).
Significance of Twitter
According to Ansari, Koenigsberg, and Stahl (2011), the huge acceptance of Twitter began in 2007, when its use recorded a massive upsurge in subscription and posts. Since then, Twitter has become more of an online Internet Relay Chat (IRC) for the hundreds of millions of users.
Generally, twitter messages can be viewed by anybody; nonetheless, senders can limit the scope of the ‘tweets’ to their friends only. Meanwhile, subscribers can send and receive Twitter messages on the company’s Internet site. This can be achieved through compatible devices that can enable access to the site such as Internet enabled cell phones or by short texts on the mobile phone in selected jurisdictions across the world (Hamill, & Gilbert, 2010).
Additionally, the subscribers can also notice their followers that are opting out on them. This development is more familiar to Tweeter users as ‘unfollowing,’ usually noticeable through various tools provided by the site. The site also allows subscribers to manipulate their individual accounts through profile updates. This service can be achieved through the cell phone either by sending short text messages or by software that can be downloaded on particular mobile phones.
Downsides of Twitter
Despite its successes, Ayoung et al (2011) believe Twitter sometimes experiences server failures, thus dispatches automated error notifications to subscribers. When the site experiences downsides or outage, subscribers are exposed to a notification message that reads ‘fail whale’ that implies the jammed traffic. In 2007, for example, the site had an estimated two percentage points of downtime. Notably, such problems were particularly manifest during major social occasions such as football matches or athletics.
Where Twitter is going
Gray, Parise, Salvatore, and Iyer (2011) suggest Twitter is set for better things, thanks to the rapid advancement of technology. In mid 2011, the company launched its own innovative technology that enables users to share photos. The service supports the taking of photos and their upload to accompany messages posted on the site. Subscribers, today, can enjoy the attachment of their preferred pictures to the site for followers to view and issue comments.
Further, the company also intends to launch a new service that will allow users to create photo albums for collecting all images that a subscriber has uploaded on the site. The conventional centralized system has been reported to impede the surging user demand, triggering the overuse of server and important loss of accessibility. However, the company is working on decentralization of the systems to improve the speed and efficiency of the ‘tweeting’ services.
Implications of the broad diffusion Twitter
The exposure of Twitter messages to all users unless restricted by the sender could injure the privacy of the subscribers (Hamill, & Gilbert, 2010). Moreover, the gathering of tweets by the company and their disclosure to third parties is also injurious to the user’s privacy. The sale of such user content if the company is sold to another party is also an indication the company’s readiness to benefit from beneficial user content, even without their consent.
Ansari, Asim, Koenigsberg, Oded, & Stahl, Florian. 2011. Modeling Multiple Relationships in Social Networks. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 48 (4): 713-728.
Ayoung et al. 2011. The Influence of Virtuality on Social Networks within and Across Work Groups: A Multilevel Approach. Journal of Management Information Systems, 28(1): 351-386.
Gray, Peter H., Parise, Salvatore, & Iyer, Bala. 2011. Innovation Impacts of Using Social Bookmarking Systems. MIS Quarterly, 35(3), 629-643.
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Hamill, Lynne, & Gilbert, Nigel. 2010. Simulating Large Social Networks in Agent-Based Models: A Social Circle Model. Emergence: Complexity & Organization, 12(4), 78-94.
Rogers, M. Everett. 2003. Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.