Archive for October, 2013
Posted on October 26, 2013, by Hanna Ingber, under social media.
It was in the wee hours of Thursday when Bill Costello, known as @BC on Twitter, realized that something unusual was happening. His phone kept vibrating, notifying him of activity on his Twitter account.
“I happened to look at it once, and it said something like 40 new interactions,” he said. “I was like, wow, something is different.”
A few hours earlier, an article I wrote about using Twitter was published. Turns out, Mr. Costello’s experience helps show how Twitter works.
The headline for the article included “@BC,” which is coincidentally Mr. Costello’s Twitter account name, or handle. Twitter users have the option of being notified whenever their handle is mentioned in a post. Each time a reader tweeted the article with the headline, “Twitter Illiterate? Mastering the @BC’s,” Mr. Costello received automated notifications that he had been mentioned by someone on Twitter.
For Mr. Costello, that meant he was flooded by more than a thousand mentions on Thursday.
Posted on October 26, 2013, by Hanna Ingber, under Media, social media.
This ran on the cover of The New York Times’s Business Day section. It also was the number one article on The Times’s Most Emailed list on Oct. 25, 2013.
Using Twitter sounds so simple. Type out no more than 140 characters — the maximum allowed in a single tweet — and hit send. That’s all, right?
Not quite. Twitter’s interface may look simple, but it is not, and its complexity has turned off many people who tried the service. This is a problem because one of the big questions facing Twitter before it starts trading as a public company, perhaps as early as next month, is whether it can attract enough users to become a robust outlet for advertising dollars. Although Twitter brings in money from advertising, it does not yet sell enough ads to make a profit.
Still, in the few years since it started, Twitter has quickly gained users. People and organizations of many stripes — celebrities like Justin Bieber, brands like Oreo, even the economist Jeffrey Sachs — have flocked to Twitter to share information and thoughts.
In a prospectus released for investors last week, the company said its worldwide monthly users grew to 232 million in the third quarter, up from closer to 200 million early this year. According to a Pew survey, the percentage of American Internet users on Twitter as of May was 18 percent, more than double the percentage in November 2010.
But those numbers are a far cry from those attained by Facebook, a top rival. Facebook has more than a billion users, and according to a Pew survey, Facebook was used by 67 percent of American Internet users as of late last year.
Will Twitter become a platform used by the masses? Maybe the best way to answer that question is to use the service yourself. Here’s a primer.