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Live Stream aggregates and surfaces content from across the Web, creates online conversation
ShareThis, a social media one-stop shop for sharing content and ideas with other users, has just launched in public beta the ShareThis Live Stream, a new real-time updated stream that marries content from across the Web with conversations taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.
Drawing from activity taking place on any of its 130,000+ publisher sites, the ShareThis Stream aggregates content and user reactions being shared across the Web. ShareThis seeks to not only create a stream which will help users find the latest interesting content being discovered on the Web, but also to foster conversation between friends with similar interests.
In the same way that they can currently embed ShareThis widgets on their sites, publishers will soon be able to embed the actual stream in a similar way, offering developers more advertising opportunities.
"People share content, interact with friends, and get their information about the world through several disconnected places online, which often leads to fragmented discovery of quality content and limited conversations," said Tim Schigel, CEO of ShareThis. "We live in an era of content overload but sharing has the power to cut through that overload by surfacing the stuff we really care about. The ShareThis Stream takes sharing to the next level; sharers and receivers can now connect around content and conversations in one place, either on our site or, soon, publishers' sites."
Eventually, ShareThis hopes to be completely integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Live.
The Mountain View, CA-based startup says it reaches over 400 million users across over 130,000 Web sites that use the sharing widgets created by ShareThis.
The most prominent competitor for ShareThis is AddThis, a very similar company with a slightly larger reach.
ShareThis has raised $21 million to date with the help of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Blue Chip Venture Company, DFJ Mercury, Reservoir Partners, Illinois Ventures, Queen City Angels and RPM Ventures.
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ShareThis powers the social web, touching the lives of 95 percent of U.S. Internet users across more than two million publisher sites and 120+ social media channels. It makes content more engaging for publishers and marketing more effective for brands by tapping into the purest expression of interest-based social activity. ShareThis is the company for those wanting to make the world more connected, trusted and valuable through sharing. Based in Palo Alto, CA, the company is privately held. To learn more visit http://www.sharethis.com
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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.