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Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution, A New Radar Report from O'Reilly: Communication, Connections, and Immediacy, 140 Characters at a Time

November 5, 2008

Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution: Communication, Connections, and Immediacy-140 Characters at a Time Sebastopol, CA—What are you doing? That's the simple question posed by Twitter, the planet's most popular micro-messaging service. Twitter's Zen-like query profoundly and instantly hooked users when it launched back in March 2006. Folks around the globe began telegraphing their status updates in short, headline-length bites of 140 characters or fewer - sometimes called "tweets" - over cell phones and personal computers. Now with some three million-plus tweeting what they're reading, watching, and thinking about, Twitter and similar services appear poised to become as ubiquitous, and as powerful, as instant messaging and even email.

The latest O'Reilly Radar Report, Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution: Communication, Connections, and Immediacy - 140 Characters at a Time (O'Reilly, $249, PDF), written by Sarah Milstein, with Abdur Chowdhury, Gregor Hochmuth, Ben Lorica, and Roger Magoulas, and foreword by Tim O'Reilly, probes and demystifies the Twitter and micro-messaging phenomenon for businesses eager to join the micro-messaging ecosystem.

"Although status updates may sound mundane, people on Twitter have found that becoming aware of what your friends, family, and colleagues are doing (without having to respond) leads to a lightweight but meaningful intimacy," explains Milstein. "Sociologists refer to this phenomenon as 'co-presence,' or the sense of being with others. Non-academics, when they have a name for it at all, call it 'ambient intimacy' or, more commonly in work situations, 'ambient awareness.'"

In the Radar Report, Milstein details the impact of ambient awareness and the attention economy on businesses today. The report also surveys the emergent aspects of Twitter and similar services, and best practices for micro-messaging for both internal and external business conversations.

The Radar Report's findings reveal:

  • How smart marketers use Twitter as a conversational tool for building relationships with customers and potential customers.
  • Twitter's "stickiness." Not only has the service enjoyed steady growth, but its rate of active users has remained constant at about 20% even as it's spread beyond early adopters.
  • The power in the channel is still up for grabs. While Twitter has a huge percentage of the nascent micro-messaging market, it has yet to establish any significant revenue streams.

Twitter represents a fascinating evolutionary step in social software, building on the most compelling and useful features of text messaging, chat, and blogging.

The release of Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution: Communication, Connections, and Immediacy - 140 Characters at a Time coincides with the opening of Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Nov. 5-7, 2008. Web 2.0 Summit features Al Gore, Lance Armstrong, and a host of web luminaries exploring the theme "Web Meets World."

For a review copy or more information please email peyton@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Sarah Milstein is a consultant on Web 2.0 and editorial strategies, and an MBA candidate at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, was previously the Chief Publishing Evangelist for O'Reilly Media. Prior to that, Sarah was O'Reilly's Managing Editor, Senior Editor, and Editor, leading the development of the Missing Manuals," a bestselling series of computer books for non-geeks. She's also written for the series, co-authoring "Google: The Missing Manual. Before joining O'Reilly in 2003, Sarah was a freelance writer and editor, and a regular contributor to The New York Times. She was also a program founder for Just Food, a local-food-and-farms non- profit, and co-founder of Two Tomatoes Records, a label that distributes and promotes the work of children's musician Laurie Berkner.

Additional Resources:
For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://radar.oreilly.com/research/twitter-report.html

Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution: Communication, Connections, and Immediacy - 140 Characters at a Time
By Sarah Milstein with Abdur Chowdhury, Gregor Hochmuth, Ben Lorica, and Roger Magoulas. Foreword by Tim O'Reilly
54 pages, PDF Price: $249.00 USD

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