Web measurement firm Compete says Twitter's audience grew to 2 million users in May from 200,000 in May 2007.It has, in fact, grown so fast that its main problem is keeping its network from crashing. Sometimes you can’t sign on because there are so many people tweeting. Last week, it had something of a meltdown, although I’m not sure of the cause. Everyone (at least all the ones I know on Twitter) lost their “followers” and “following” people. (If you are “following” someone, you’re keeping up with their Tweets. If others are “followers” of you, they’re seeing your Tweets.) That wasn’t a big scare for me because I’m new so I was only following about 40 people. But there are some Tweeters who are following hundreds even thousands. But the good news is that within 24 hours Twitter had everything back where it belonged. (I envision a warehouse of brilliant Twitter nerds furiously working their magic to restore all the data for 2 million users!)
Twitter started out as a way for friends, family, and co-workers to keep up with what each other was doing via short (no more than 140 characters in any one Tweet) notes. Now it has grown into breaking news alerts and a way to promote yourself, your cause, your books, rants, raves and more. Companies cruise the Twitter world to find out what consumers are saying about them.
I hesitated joining the group because I thought the tweets of the people you were following would come via email. I dreaded the thought of a mass of emails coming in. But it doesn’t come in the form of emails. You log onto the Twitter site and your Tweets are there waiting. You can scan quickly through your messages, decide which ones you want to send a reply Tweet to, post a quick Tweet of your own and sign off.
If you’re interested in learning about Twitter, let me know. I’ll post some tips that I’ve learned since signing on.