Twitter links up with LinkedIn

Ronny Kerr · November 10, 2009 · Short URL:

Just the beginning of a guaranteed long relationship between microblogging and business data

After a nonstop barrage of updates last week from the microblogging startup, Twitter might have been expected to take this week off before making any new announcements.

Not so, as Monday night it was revealed that LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site, has teamed up with Twitter to make it easier for users of both sites to synchronize posts to and from either site.

LinkedIn Twitter At LinkedIn, users will now notice a Twitter settings panel, where one can connect a Twitter account and decide whether the account displays on the LinkedIn profile. After adding a Twitter account, one only needs to check a small box marked with a Twitter logo under the status update submission box to cross-post to Twitter.

On Twitter, users can do much the same for linking back to LinkedIn, though they can even decide to send all updates to the other site automatically. If one chooses to opt out of this feature, Twitter supports the insertion of a hashtag (#li or #in) in select tweets, which will signal to Twitter cross-post that select update only. This mirrors Twitter's support of the #fb tag for cross-posts to Facebook.

According to LinkedIn's co-founder and current VP, Product Strategy, Allen Blue, this new bond between two of the newest and most popular social sites on the Web could end up being more than just a feature update. Blue believes that Twitter's grasp of real-time technology along with LinkedIn's growing database of business data could prove to be a winning combination.

It seems like Twitter is making relationships in any direction. It was just a couple weeks ago that Twitter sealed big deals with both Microsoft and Google to allow indexing of Twitter's real-time information to supplement search results on Bing and Google. We shall see if a similar relationship blossoms between Twitter and LinkedIn.

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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, 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, 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 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.