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A very popular message broadcasting system that lets anyone send alphanumeric text messages ("tweets") up to 140 characters in length to a list of followers. Launched in 2006, Twitter was designed as a social network to keep friends and colleagues informed throughout the day. However, it became widely used for commercial and political purposes to keep customers, voters and fans up-to-date as well as to encourage feedback. By 2012, daily tweets reached the half billion mark.

After establishing a Twitter account at, individuals can import their e-mail addresses as well as use the Twitter search to locate and invite people. Tweets can be made public and sent to anyone requesting the feed, or they can be sent only to approved followers.

Messages can be sent and received via cellphone messaging (see MMS) or a Twitter app. To follow a feed on the Twitter website, type the feed name after the URL; for example,

Forward that Tweet (Retweet)
Twitter becomes a viral conduit when users receive an interesting message and forward it to their followers. The ease of retweeting can quickly build large audiences. See retweet.

Replies and Direct Messages (DMs)
Initially a one-way broadcast from writer to follower, Twitter added a reply function that turned Twitter into a discussion group service.

Tweets can also be private. Writers can send followers a private message called a "direct message" (DM), and followers can do likewise. Followers can also delete the DMs they sent, making them disappear from the writer's inbox. In July 2015, the length of a DM was increased from 140 to 10,000 characters.

@ Signs and # Hashtags
When someone replies to a Twitter posting, they use their Twitter account name preceded by an @ sign; for example, "@JohnDoe."

A hashtag is a # prefix used to identify any topic so that it can be searched as a group. Hashtags are created for all major entities such as organizations, sports teams and political parties; however, they can be created for anything. For example, people commenting about a Twitter event in New York added the hashtag #nyctweetup in their postings, and all those messages could be viewed as a group by searching for #nyctweetup.

From Mobile Blogging to Microblogging
Twitter expanded "mobile blogging," the process of updating a blog from a cellphone, into updating a short activities blog (the "microblog") and immediately sending the update to followers. For more Twitter vocabulary, see Twitterese. See verified Twitter account, Vine and microblog.
References in periodicals archive ?
7 million from the Direct Message operations for the first time.
The direct message system is actually a very powerful marketing tool.
The Energy Cost Savings Council (ECSC) has launched a national education campaign to convey a simple and direct message to Corporate America: The average building owner can cut energy costs up to 60 percent by replacing outdated, inefficient electrical equipment with new, high-tech electrotechnologies, a potential savings of $1 per square foot of space.
In addition to the full suite of workforce collaboration tools currently provided through Intellinote -- such as Task management, Note taking, and File sharing -- today's product release elevates team productivity by enabling members to participate in real-time group Chats, Direct Message one another, search historical conversations, and simultaneously access project Files, Tasks, and Notes.
The former 'Two and a Half Men' star, hoping to send a direct message to Bieber to get him to call, tweeted, "310-954-7277 Call me bro.
is provides an interface and API to send a personalized direct message to selected recipients while tweeting to a broader group of followers.
NEW YORK & INDIANAPOLIS -- ExactTarget, a leading provider of on-demand email and one-to-one marketing solutions, and Direct Message Lab, the leading platform for brands to manage their communication and marketing in Web 2.
Jiveocity is the first-ever dual social networking mobile application that offers businesses worldwide the option to automatically send out a direct message to anyone that gets within 200 feet of their establishment.
FedLine Direct File and FedLine Direct Message are part of an innovative new suite of electronic access solutions from the Federal Reserve.
In a direct message, his uncle said: "Please come home your mammy and daddy are very scared.
com will provide public companies with the means and ability to reach far into the investment community with a direct message to shareholders and potential investors, through our streaming media technology, active databases of institutional and individual investors, analysts, brokerage firms and large affiliate network while providing the most impact for the communications dollar.
OSE received especially high marks for its transparent, direct message technology, which provides the foundation for OSE's LINX interprocess communications services.

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