Why Is Twitter So Popular? Analyst on Twitter’s Success

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Twitter is the undisputed champion of the microblogging sphere. With over 140 million active users, it far outstrips rivals on any measure of popularity. But why has Twitter become so phenomenally popular?

The first thing that springs to mind when you think of Twitter is probably some variation on the phrase “140 characters or less.” That’s because Twitter is all about brevity. Users post updates, or “tweets,” that are limited to 140 characters or less. This constraint has bred an economy of words and a sense of urgency that is unique to Twitter.

Simplicity

Twitter also owes its success to its simplicity. The service works on many levels. People use it for casual conversation between friends, to share news stories or to break news itself.

“Twitter is the first mass-market communication medium that actually bypasses the traditional media,” says Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research. “It’s a new form of communication on every level.”

Uniqueness

For all its success and uniqueness, Twitter isn’t alone in microblogging. Competitors like Facebook and Tumblr also allow users to post updates that often take the form of short messages — just like Twitter — and they’ve achieved some measure of popularity too. It seems there must be something beyond brevity and simplicity that makes Twitter so special. The answer might surprise you: it’s porn .

Twitter has around 140 million active users, and Twitter is often the first place people turn to for news. It’s also a massive traffic-driver. People visit Twitter to see breaking updates from their friends or celebrities, and they stay on the site to read news stories and watch videos.

Best Place For Advertisement

That massive flow of traffic makes Twitter an attractive destination for advertisers — just like the big search engines — but it hasn’t been as easy for them to monetize that traffic through ads as it has been on Google or Facebook . That’s because most online advertising doesn’t really work. Banner ads are too small to be seen, links are too easily ignored, targeted ad campaigns only annoy users.

Twitter has been working on a new way to sell ads, and it’s called “promoted tweets.” With promoted tweets, advertisers pay to have their tweets show up at the top of users’ Twitter feeds. The hope is that people will see the tweet, click through to the advertiser’s website and then buy something.

Constant Updates

Twitter has been testing promoted tweets for a while now, and it seems to be working. Some major brands, like Virgin America and Starbucks , are seeing good results from their ad campaigns.

“Twitter is attractive to advertisers because it reaches influential people,” Bernoff says. “And when Lady Gaga or Ashton Kutcher endorses something on Twitter, that endorsement carries a lot more weight than an endorsement from a traditional celebrity.”

Twitter is the undisputed champion of the microblogging sphere. With over 140 million active users, it far outstrips rivals on any measure of popularity. But why has Twitter become so phenomenally popular?


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