In the past three years, developments in social networking and internet applications have begun providing internet users with more opportunities for sharing short updates about themselves, their lives, and their whereabouts online. Users may post messages about their status, their moods, their location and other tidbits on social networks and blogging sites, or on applications for sending out short messages to networks of friends like Twitter, Yammer and others.
As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others. Just a few weeks earlier, in November 2008, 9% of internet users used Twitter or updated their status online and in May of 2008, 6% of internet users responded yes to a slightly different question, where users were asked if they used “Twitter or another ‘microblogging' service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others.”
Of the standalone applications that enable short messaging to a network of friends, Twitter is the most well known. First made available to those online in August 2006, Twitter allows users to send messages, known as “tweets” from a computer or a mobile device like a mobile phone, Blackberry or iPhone. Users of the service are asked to post messages of 140 characters and those messages are delivered to others who have signed up to receive them such as family, friends or colleagues.
Read the full report Twitter and Status Updating on the Pew Internet & American Life Project's Web site.