What's Your Twitter Type?
Be it promoting work, informing friends of your drunken escapades or following comedian Stephen Fry for his latest witty insight, Twitter's usage has grown and developed over the past year. Used both as a business tool and a way of keeping up with the latest tabloid gossip, Twitter has overcome all the critics who thought that a 140-character blogging service had no future.
Not just that, but it is a social networking device that seemingly appeals to everyone - businessmen, celebrities, politicians and the general populous. However, it appears that not everyone uses Twitter for the same purpose. While the ability to send 140 character-long texts is open to everyone, people use the blogging services for different reasons and purposes.
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It's not just different users using Twitter, it is now even being adapted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor earthquakes. Apparently, the USGS has noticed that, unsurprisingly, there are big spikes in Twitter traffic immediately after a quake. As such, the USGS believes emergency responders might find the information useful and want to be able to monitor public reaction.
(See related: Tech Tools Tell the Story of Earthquake in Haiti )
"It is a speed versus accuracy issue," the agency's Dr Paul Earle told the BBC, when explaining the usefulness of the Twitter Earthquake Detection project.
"Twitter messages start coming out in the seconds after an earthquake whereas, depending of the region, scientifically derived information can take between two and 20 minutes."
"Twitter provides a stream that dumps out the tweets continuously," said USGS software engineer Michelle Guy.
"We put a filter on that stream, looking for key words like 'earthquake' or 'quake'. We download it 24/7."
Recently, a 5.1 magnitude quake struck off the coast of New Zealand resulting in 'tweets' such as:
"Just had a Earthquake, biggest one I've ever seen, not huge, but enough to really shake our house and everything on my desk, good old NZ"
Of course, the most common use of Twitter is to follow famous people, be it Stephen Fry, Jordan or President Obama. Whether it's reading their insights on the latest world news or finding out what they're doing at any given moment, celebrity usage has been a big drawn and boon for Twitter.
It can, however, not always go to plan... for the celebs that is. Chris Brown recently followed the likes of Miley Cyrus by quitting Twitter, after his previous tweets got him into trouble with major retailers that he had accused of not stocking his new album.
One of his tweets said: "I'm tired of this s***. Major stores are blackballing my CD. What the f*** do i gotta do... "WTF... yeah i said it and i ain't retracting s***."
In fact, celebrities are frequently using Twitter to voice their views, often meaning studios, record companies and publicists are are constantly scrambling to react to 'tweets' or updates sent out by actors or writers that may go against official strategy or policy, especially when they're used in industry publications, blogs and other forms of Social Media.
One insider recently said, "getting an ill-advised word out to the wider public once required a TV camera or a gossip columnist; social media eliminates the middleman and enables an actor to broadcast to millions in an instant."
It is testament to Twitter, that some of the biggest companies in the world can be so unnerved by the reaction certain 'tweets' can have.
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