Twitter is an online social networking service in which users can send and read posts. The posts are limited to 140 characters or less, and are known as “tweets.” Users can subscribe to tweets of other users, which is known as “following.” Reposting and sharing someone else’s tweet is called “retweeting,” symbolized by “RT” in the message. Replying to or referring to another user is done by using the “@” sign followed by their user name.
Posts are grouped by subject with the use of “hashtags,” the “#” sign followed by a word or phrase. Words or topics that are tagged more frequently than others are said to be trending topics. This can happen because an event leads people to talk about a particular subject, or because users organize around a topic. For example, Twitter has been used to organize protests, including 2010 and 2011 unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran. The governments of Iran and Egypt blocked the service in retaliation.
Twitter has over 300 million users as of 2011, resulting in about 140 million tweets being posted daily.
For more tutorials click on the hoonuit link on your Plato Dashboard and search for Twitter.
Social Networking in Plain English – good background info
Video – Twitter in Plain English
Michael Wesch – A Portal to Media Literacy