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Resigning governor uses Twitter and Facebook to fight the good fight
Sarah Palin instantly made headlines last Friday with the surprising announcement that she would be stepping down as Alaska’s Governor by the end of July. Though her speech ran long, the complete lack of a real explanation as to what motivated the decision has had everybody from traditional news writers to personal bloggers abuzz as to what that motivation is.
While the media continues to do what it does best—speculating, conjecturing, investigating—in search of the true (and potentially more juicy) reason for Palin’s departure, the self-described hockey mom has been defending her name bravely through updates at big social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
The first sign of Palin’s frustration came Saturday afternoon through a Twitter update: “Unfortunately fake ‘Gov Sarah Palin’ twitter sites r doing their thing today:unscrupulous, untrue- so sorry if u recv false info @ fake site.”
Besides apparently having trouble striking a balance between spelling words correctly and keeping her thoughts under Twitter’s 140-character limit, the resigning governor refuses to remain silent in the face of what she sees as the signs of a new destructive politics in America.
Later that Saturday she posted a more thought-out message on Facebook declaring, “The response in the main stream media has been most predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the ‘politics of personal destruction.’”
Perhaps if Palin took another good look at her resignation speech, she would see the ambiguity and hints veiling that many others seem to see. With her repeatedly vague denouncing of “politics as usual,” at one point supported by a basketball metaphor describing how she doesn’t fall victim to the press, Palin did not make her reasons for resignation clear at all. Why else would even big media like Time Magazine publish a top-five list of possible reasons for the governor’s move?
Still, the benefit of social media is that it provides a quick and effective avenue to anybody, no matter how well-known, to express their opinions about anything they like. Palin’s tireless defenses may not have steady ground, but her effort to use technology to her advantage is admirable regardless.
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What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests.
Where did the idea for Twitter come from?
Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.
How is Twitter built?
Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes.
We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.
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There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.
In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet.
At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.
Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.
What's next for Twitter?
We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users.
We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.