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Following last week's Suggested Users List update, microblogging king brings another useful toolTwitter updated its site on Tuesday evening to now provide, alongside worldwide trends, local trending topics that display what users are talking most about in your particular area.
For now, Twitter offers either trends in any of six countries--Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States--or in any of 15 cities, which include São Paulo, Brazil and London in addition to the most prominent U.S. cities.
Twitter presents a couple visions of how local trends could make the site a more useful tool for following the pulse of the planet:
"The big events that come up around the world will always become a global conversation, but what about the big events that only happen in your world that only matter to those around you? Or the slight differences in the way Californians perceive an event, like Obama's election victory, versus those [in] São Paulo, Brazil?"
This is the second moderate update to come to Twitter in the last week. This past Friday, Twitter completely overhauled its Suggested Users Lists to recommend tweeters based on category, instead of just popularity.
It is suspected that Twitter will continue rolling out a series of revisions and additions to enhance its microblogging service, which suffered a severe drop in growth last fall, following its blinding rise to prominence in the spring just a few months prior.
According to the latest study from RJMetrics Inc., online metric analysis software developer, only 17% of the Twitter's roughly 75 million user accounts were active last month. About 80% of Twitter users have tweeted less than ten times.
If Twitter wants to improve those numbers, it not only has to expand its site's services, but it has to show users why they should be using the site, period.
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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.