Graduate School Artifacts

Twitter-The Social Media Phenomenon

“Twitter is your window to the world.”—Twitter.


How it all Started

Four individuals founded twitter in 2006, in San Francisco, California: Jack Dorsey (current CEO), Noah Glass (no longer involved), Evan Williams (former CEO), and Biz Stone. No different from the majority of successful social media platforms, the start-up of Twitter is told by a variety of people, who have different versions of how the company truly developed. Most of the stories entail actions of shrewd business, betrayal, and prior failures, which all led to the success of the social media giant–Twitter. The Business Insider depicted the various stories in a very insightful article, published in 2011.


Demographics and Analytics

As of September 30, 2015, Twitter claims to have 320 million active users monthly, and one billion unique visits monthly to sites with embedded Tweets. These visitors can access the social site through the web and mobile apps, which is where 80% of their active users access the channel.

According to Sprout Social’s 2015 research, 18-29 year olds, who live in urban/suburban areas, find Twitter most appealing.

What is Twitter and How Do You Use it?

Twitter states its mission is “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” Much like Facebook, users are allowed to create their own profile (age, location, profile picture, website), and create posts (tweets) on their timeline. When tweeting, users can use a mention (ex: @Twitter) when wanting to grab the attention of a person, or company. If users are not tweeting to a specific handler, but a certain topic, they will use a hashtag to create, or be involved with a trending topic. For instance, as I watched the Golden Globes last Sunday, I was curious to see other people’s reactions to the hosts’ commentary. So, I searched the hashtag, #GoldenGlobes,and I was able to see everyone’s tweets that had the hashtag, and therefore be apart of a global conversation.

Twitter also allows users to be informed on the most popular trending topics as soon as you log in. Here what’s trending now!

Do you find any of those topics intriguing? Simply click on the hashtag, which will bring you to a thread of tweets, and get educated! Is the conversation so good that you want to partake? You could, “favorite” (heart), “reply” (be sure to use the hashtag), or “retweet” a tweet. (Which will show up on your timeline.) Be careful, all users can see every one of your tweets, replies, retweets, and favorites.


How Could Twitter be used from a Business Perspective?

Social media is the largest new trend in modern marketing, and businesses are jumping all over the social platforms-especially Twitter. How could it be possible for a social channel to create revenue for a company or brand? Max Chaikin (2009outlines five major ways companies can capitalize off of Twitter:


  1. Turn Followers into Creators”- This strategy allows customers to participate in contests, which could result in a reward, or a new creation from the consumer. Companies will prompt their followers to retweet the contest with a certain hashtag, which will enter them in a chance to win a prize. According to Chaikin (2009), Threadless launched a competition similar to what was described above, on Twitter, for their customers to create a new T-Shirt slogan. The results were reflected in an increase of revenue and Twitter followers.
  2. Sell Products on Twitter”- Pretty simple. Businesses market their products by tweeting details about new promotions. This increases traffic to a company’s website.
  3. Look for Leads on Twitter-This theory correlates with the “trending” tweets that I touched on earlier. Companies can target their audiences on Twitter by searching keywords that could pertain to their product. Chaikin (2009) gives an example of residency marketing manager, Bob Scaglion’s tactics; “The easiest way to find customers who are looking for what you sell is to go to and start typing in keywords. Rose uses 10 key terms, like New York City apartments, moving to New York City, and no fee rentals. When a person uses one of these phrases, someone in the company’s marketing department sends a reply message like the one above with a link to Rose’s apartment listings. Unsolicited messages from strangers might sound creepy, but such is life on Twitter.”
  4. Sell Products for Twitter”- Software companies and entrepreneurs can create and sell apps that Twitter users can find useful. For example, Tweetie.
  5. Find Customers Anywhere”-Businesses can tweet their locations of special events, which allows their followers to locate them easily. Many radio stations use this tactic during special events.


Strengths and Weaknesses


  • Easily accessible
  • Solid targeted audience
  • User friendly
  • One of the top social media platforms to date
  • Two-way communication between company and consumer.
    • For example, companies can directly interact with its customers by searching its mentions or hashtags. Here is an example Forbes gave of interaction between American Airlines and a dissatisfied customer.

They were able to assist their customer in attempt to compromise a situation out of their control, while the whole world was able to access their “heroic” tweet


  • Lack of discretion
  • Not a variety of users, like Facebook
  • More spectators, than users
    • Many people, including myself, use Twitter as a news source, which is part of the channel’s mission. However, this means less interaction and tweeting, and more “trolling” and spectating.



Twitter is known for sharing, with its retweeting feature; however, this also applies with the intercrossing of social platforms. Nowadays, almost every webpage has sharing buttons, which include Twitter. Also, users can connect their other social media pages and share a post on multiple platforms. This allows an increase in traffic for all parties involved.

Twitter is revolutionary, and it shows no sign of stopping its domination of the social media world.



Carlson, N. (2011, April 13). The Real History Of Twitter. Retrieved January 18, 2016, from (Links to an external site.)

Chaikin, M. (2009, December 9). 5 Ways to Actually Make Money on Twitter. Retrieved January 18, 2016, from (Links to an external site.)

Martin, G. (2014, October 24). How To Complain To Airlines On Twitter (And What You’re Doing Wrong). Retrieved January 18, 2016, from – 5b242a1a314e5a43dc0d314e (Links to an external site.)

Patterson, M. (2015, May 4). Social Media Demographics for Marketers | Sprout Social. Retrieved January 18, 2016, from (Links to an external site.)

Company | About. (2016). Retrieved January 18, 2016, from (Links to an external site.)


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