Understand Twitter’s Technology

twitter technology

Twitter uses a proprietary message-routing system that processes text-based messages from the Web, SMS, mobile Web, and instant messages. It also allows outside entities, known collectively as third-party applications, to access its servers via its open-source application program interface (API) to pass data (messages and user information) back and forth. 

Twitter’s flexible, extensible platform has given it wide reach as developers create new applications, tools, directories, functions, and the like. All of these Twitter solutions attract attention, trial and use, and subsequent mention by the Twitter community at large, which then helps to further broaden interest in Twitter. Many users prefer such third-party apps as their primary means of using Twitter, which often replaces entirely the need to go to the Twitter website.

On a simpler level, Twitter’s technology can be divided into two key components: the Web and its mobile counterpart.

Twittering on the Web

The Twitter website itself is programmed using the Ruby on Rails web application framework, which is popular with Twitter’s developers due to its facility for rapid development and ease of maintenance. Twitter users who tweet from the Web at http://www.twitter. com need only a basic web browser to use the service and access all of its features.

Twittering on the Go

Tweeting from a mobile phone while on the go is a slightly more complicated process. Twitter provides a special web-based interface at http://m.Twitter.com. It is a pareddown, faster-loading version of the original that works particularly well with browserenabled mobile devices. If your device does not have a browser, mobile tweeting will require learning a few special keypad commands. It’s important to note that using Twitter while on the go is possible from any mobile device with SMS capability. Just remember this: although using Twitter is free, text messaging (receiving and sending) is not. If you plan to use Twitter via text messaging, you might want to monitor your cell phone bills and upgrade to an unlimited text-messaging plan if your tweets really start to add up.

Follow the Leader

Twitter’s unique subscription system allows you to follow (or unfollow) other users’ tweets, similar to subscribing to or unsubscribing from a blog or email list. Among the statistics that Twitter displays prominently on every user’s profile page are a followers count (the number of people following someone) as well as a following count (the number of people someone follows).

Twitter’s very public statistics promote something of a popularity-contest atmosphere within Twitter. People may pass instant judgments about the caliber of a user based on their followers/following counts, and not necessarily on the quality of their tweets. There are some who have gone so far as to propose that Twitter do away with these followers/following statistics for this very reason.

Almost unilaterally, however, Twitter users aim to avoid losing followers. The best way for users to retain followers is by maintaining an active, engaging tweet stream that remains relevant and beneficial to their audience

The authentic side of the Twitterverse is an ecosystem that respects and rewards quality over quantity—both with tweets and tweeps—and reduces the signal-to-noise ratio when it comes to producing quality tweets. Most respectable tweeps frown on spammers, annoying tweeps, those who tweet too much, and those who take “What are you doing?” too literally. The objectives for brands utilizing Twitter should be the same: produce great content, be engaged with your community, seek out those with like-minded interests, and the followers will come. Ultimately, this kind of interactionattraction will help support your brand.

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