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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. As of 2017, more than a half billion tweets are sent every day.

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 text messaging (SMS), the Twitter website or a third-party Twitter application. To follow a Twitter feed, the Twitter site and feed name become the URL; for example, Microsoft's Twitter feed is

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 ?
Her photo quickly started rampant photo sharing using the hash tag "babeinamug" and eventually evolved into "baby mugging" and "babymugging.
Along with her friend, Al Muhairi created the #UAEDressCode hash tag on Twitter, which she says is her way of creating awareness online on the issue.
Additionally, the hash tag '#AMF', which generated 10,432 tweets over two days, reached an audience of more than 11 million users.
For each status shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hash tag #KnowYourStatus, LifeStyles will donate a condom, up to 50,000, to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to help prevent the spread of HIV.
A spate of tweets surfaced on the micro-blogging site, with the hash tag #PepperSpray, wherein people collectively condemned the incident.
Tweet your best HANDLE IT[TM] moments to @SpeedStick, using the hash tag #HANDLEIT for a chance to have it made into a Speed Stick[R] video starring me as the narrator.
Use the hash tag #BBCforum in your tweets to join the discussion.
North East events and networks are being advertised, and businesses are even running offers to fellow users of the hash tag.
The competition is open to the public; to enter contestants can post Instagram videos with their business ideas and include the hash tag #BEBestPitch.
The hash tag #BhagodaKejri tends to mostly attack Kejriwal's decision to resign while also finding humor in the entire episode that has unfolded.
Washington, January 23 ( ANI ): Using the trending hash tag #imsinglebecause, tweeters explained why they're currently relationship free - from a lack of free time to a fear of being cheated on - on Tuesday.
uk/businessexec and regular updates are to be found on Twitter if you use the hash tag #businessexec *There will be an award dinner held on November 15 at the Gosforth Park Marriott, Newcastle.