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Urging citizens to phone, email and tweet congressmen, the President returns to social media
Don’t you worry about that debt ceiling problem in Congress, American citizens. Your President has pulled out the big guns in his mission to motivate an agreement between Democrats and Republicans: he’s turned to Twitter.
"Now, on Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming," said President Barack Obama in a statement on Friday.
"So please, to all the American people, keep it up. If you want to see a bipartisan compromise -- a bill that can pass both houses of Congress and that I can sign -- let your members of Congress know. Make a phone call. Send an email. Tweet. Keep the pressure on Washington, and we can get past this."
To the man whose 2008 presidential victory had much to do with the power of social media, Twitter has earned itself a snug place alongside phones and email as a primary form of communication. The President wants you to tweet your congressmen.
Earlier Friday, following his live statement about the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama tweeted out the following message:
The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet. —BO
Immediately after, the account sent out the following:
You heard the President. So here's what we're doing: throughout the day we'll post the Twitter handles of GOP lawmakers in each state. [...] Tweet at your Republican legislators and urge them to support a bipartisan compromise to the debt crisis.
And they weren’t kidding.
For hours now, the official Barack Obama Twitter account has been sending out a barrage of tweets listing, in alphabetical order by state, all the Republican congressmen along with direct links to their Twitter accounts. And the hashtag #compromise is being included in many of them, though it will need some help to top trending topics like “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Soulja Boy.”
It’s worth noting that Obama isn’t actually at his computer or phone penning posts for his Twitter account. The tweets signed “BO” supposedly come directly from him, while the rest are managed by his campaign staff.
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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.
How do you make money from Twitter?
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.