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L.Srikumar Pai
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History of Twitter

( A Social networking Site )

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Twitter web site and service that lets users send short text messages up to 140 characters in length from their cell phones/ Twitter page to a group of people. Launched in 2006, Twitter  was designed to keep friends and colleagues informed about one's daily activities. However, Twitter is also increasingly used for commercial purposes such as companies telling customers "what's new." In addition, politicians and celebrities use Twitter to keep constituents and fans informed.

Twitter messages ("tweets") are not sent indiscriminately; they are only distributed to recipients who have elected to become followers. Messages can also be sent via instant messaging, the Twitter Web site or a third-party Twitter application. A MySpace account can also be updated.

Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained notability and popularity worldwide. It is sometimes described as the "SMS of the Internet" since the use of Twitter's application programming interface for sending and receiving short text messages by other applications often eclipses the direct use of Twitter.

Jack Dorsey ( Creator of Twitter )

Jack Dorsey (born November 19, 1976) is an American software architect and businessperson best known as the creator of Twitter. BusinessWeek called him one of technology's "best and brightest". MIT's Technology Review named him in the TR35, an outstanding innovator under the age of 35

Dorsey grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. By age 14, he was interested in dispatch routing. Some of his open source software in this genre is still in use by taxicab companies. He attended University of Missouri–Rolla and New York University. While working on dispatching as a programmer he later moved to California.

In Oakland in 2000, Dorsey started his company to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the Web.

When he first saw implementations of instant messaging, Dorsey had wondered if the software's user status output could be shared among friends easily. He approached Odeo, who at the time happened to be interested in text messaging. Dorsey and Biz Stone decided that SMS text suited the status message idea, and built a prototype of Twitter in about two weeks.The idea attracted many users at Odeo

Dorsey, Stone and Williams co-founded Obvious which then spun off Twitter, Inc.As chief executive officer, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of funding by the venture capitalists who back the company.On 16 October 2008Williams took over the role of CEO, and Dorsey became chairman of the board. His three guiding principles, which are shared by the whole company and through its culture, are simplicity, constraint and craftsmanship.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.  People write short updates, often called "tweets"  of 140 characters or fewer.  These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.

Do I need anything special to use it?

All you need to use Twitter is an internet connection or a mobile phone. Join us here! Once you're in, type your first update into the web box.  To get an idea of what other people are saying or doing on Twitter, check out Twitter search to see what Twitter's all about.  You can search by keyword or just check out the trending topics to see what's hot on Twitter right now.  

How do I find my friends?

When you create an account, you can search for people by name or user name, import friends from other networks, or invite friends via email.  If you don't want to do that, follow some of the people we've suggested. Once you've found your friends, follow them to start getting their updates.  

What does it mean to follow someone on Twitter

Following someone simply means receiving their Twitter updates.   When you follow someone, every time they post a new message, it will appear on your Twitter home page.  New messages are added to your home page as people post them, so you always get the updates in real time.  When you log in, you can see what the latest updates are.  Twitter offers other ways to follow people too: you can get updates from certain people on your phone!

How do I know who I'm following?

After you click the follow button on someone's profile, you're following them.  The follow button will change to a green check mark next to the word "Following" with an actions button on the right to remove a person if you want to. If you've registered your phone with Twitter, you can set up text preferences for a person as well.  See a list of people you're following by clicking on the following link on your profile or your home page's sidebar.

How do I know who is following me?

Twitter sends you an email when someone new follows you.  Set up your email preferences to notify you when you have a new follower.  The followers link on your profile page or home page's sidebar will also tell you how many followers you have.

What are follow limits?
Twitter recently added follow and update limits for stability and abuse control.  You can read more about this here.

Who reads my updates? 

It's up to you.  Your followers read your updates, and anyone else who comes across them in a search.  Your Twitter profile is public by default; if you're hesitant to have strangers read your updates, protect your profile to approve followers and keep your updates out of search. 

Can I block people from following me?

Yes, you can. If you block someone, they wont be able to follow you or send you any messages.  If your account is public, they'll still be able to view it, but they wont show up on your followers list, and you wont be on their following list.  If it's a spammer you're blocking, thanks!  Twitter Support keeps an eye on block reports to see who's getting in trouble on Twitter.  

How can I send updates to Twitter?

Twitter offers many ways to post updates: from the web in the update box, from your phone,  from your mobile web browser using, or from any third party application made by the talented folks who've utilized our API.

Why is there a star at the end of updates?

The star is a way for you to mark an update as favorite.  People can view your favorites, and you theirs, by clicking on the Favorites link in the profile page. 

Can I put my Twitter updates on my blog?

Yep! Put a Twitter widget on your blog, website, MySpace... anything that accepts Javascript or HTML.  You can even customize your Twitter badge to match! 

What are @Replies?

An @reply is a public message sent from one person to another, distinguished from normal updates by the @username prefix. If a message begins with @username, we collect it as a reply. Reply publicly to any update on Twitter by using the @username format.  Following is not necessary to reply to someone, and all of your replies are visible in the @username tab in your home page sidebar.  (Tweets with @username elsewhere in the tweet are also collected in your sidebar tab; tweets starting with @username are replies, and tweets with @username elsewhere are considered mentions.) Please note that if your account is private, users who are not following you will not see your @replies or mentions.

What are Direct Messages?

Direct messages are private messages sent from one Twitter person to another.  You can only send a direct message to a person who follows you.  When you receive a direct message, we save it in your direct message inbox, accessible from the Direct Message tab in the sidebar in your home page.  Set your email preferences to notify you by mail if you have a new message.

Can I edit a tweet once I post it?

Nope. Once it's out there, you can't edit it.  You can delete an update by clicking the trash icon on the right end of the update, but you can't make changes.

What is the difference between an @reply and a direct message?

An @reply is a public message sent regardless of follow-ship that anyone can view.  A direct message can only be sent by someone you follow, and is a private message that only the author and recipient can view.

What does RT, or retweet, mean?

RT is short for retweet, and indicates a re-posting of someone else's tweet.  This isn't an official Twitter command or feature, but people add RT somewhere in a tweet to indicate that part of their tweet includes something they're re-posting from another person's tweet, sometimes with a comment of their own.Check out this great article on re-tweeting, written by a fellow Twitter user, @ruhanirabin.

Why can't I see all my tweets?  My tweet count is _,___.  Are they lost?

The good news is they're not lost or gone!  We have all your tweets.  The bad news is that we currently only allow you to see the 3200 most recent tweets (this could also be construed as good news, as that number could be lower than 3200).  The other good news is that we are eventually going to build something that will allow you to see ALL your tweets.  Among the gazillion things we want to do to make Twitter better, this hasn't yet reached the top of our list, which is largely based on what we hear from people like you.  At some point, you'll be able to get on a twime machine, visit your twistory, and tweminisce.  That will be a fun day!

How do I post a picture to Twitter?

Twitter doesn't offer an official picture posting feature of its own, however, most people use a third party application (a popular one is TwitPic) to post pictures to Twitter accounts. Check out other photo and video apps on the Twitter Fan Wiki here!  Note: Twitter doesn't officially support Twitpic or other third party applications, but you can usually find them on Twitter (follow Twipic here) to get help or find out the latest updates!

Why wont my feed reader take my @reply RSS feed?

The @replies RSS feed requires authentication; most web-based feed readers don't support authentication.  If yours doesn't, you wont be able to see your @replies via rss feed.  Try the feed in a desktop feed reader, which usually supports authentication. 

Is there a Twitter API?

Yes, complete with documentation and an active developer group to help you with common API questions.  You can find it at the bottom of your logged-in homepage, here.

I'm an app developer, how do I get white listed?

Send a request to white list your application from the API Wiki, here.

Does Twitter allow html in web updates?

No.  We escape all html for security purposes.  However, if you paste in a link that is less than 30 characters, we'll post it in its entirety.  If it's longer than 30 characters, we'll convert it to a shorter URL.

How do I report spam?

Report spam by following Twitter's spam account, and sending us a direct message containing the username of the spammer. Also, we encourage you to always block any spammers you find. Twitter Support keeps an eye on block reports to see who's getting in trouble on Twitter.

Why are accounts suspended?

Accounts are suspended for Terms of Service violations or spam investigation.  Read more about this here.

Where can I find out more information about Twitter's Terms of Service?

Twitter's Terms of Service is posted on the site, and the Twitter Rules are posted in the Support home page.  Check out Twitter's Terms of Service and Rules policies here.

How do I submit a complaint about copyright, impersonation, trademark, or other Terms of Service issues?

Review our Terms of Service section to find out what constitutes a violation, and how to go about fixing a related problem.

What is Get Satisfaction?

Get Satisfaction is a great site that people use to help each other figure out problems on Twitter.  They call it "people powered customer service" because people are there, helping each other out.  If you're looking for help using Twitter from other Twitter users, this is a great resource. If you're looking for official Twitter Support, you'll find it by clicking on the Help link from

Is there a place where I can find out if there are problems with Twitter?

Yes.  Check (and subscribe to!) Support's Known Issues page, read the Twitter Status Blog, or follow @twitter.  To unsubscribe, click on the link from the email, or visit the forum again and unsubscribe there.

Still wondering about something?  Check out our help resources for more information!


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