Twitter’s Popularity Owes to More Than Simply Its Use for Casual Conversation

Even as Facebook’s impressive growth rate begins to slow down, Twitter’s is picking right up. That is really saying something, too, given how quickly the microblogging social network has grown in recent years. Something about the immediacy and conciseness of Twitter postings seems to attract new users in ways that Facebook can no longer match.

Outsiders might suppose that Twitter users stick mostly to carrying on the kinds of back-and-forth conversations that would seem to be encouraged by the format. While 160 characters might not be enough to express much in the way of complicated thoughts, though, the allowed space can be put to be more use than the conveyance of quick quips.

Many prominent Twitter users, for example, focus mostly on using the service to relay breaking news to followers. Acting as news-gathering filters for those who pay attention to their tweets, these users come across something like traditional news services, but with very precisely targeted audiences.

One representative user named Scott tellez, for example, keeps up a steady stream of tweets that recirculate the postings made by conventional news sources. On a recent day, his output included tweets about a Formula One race in Hungary, a charity event attended by the Golden State Warriors, and a number of posts about movies currently in the theaters.

Mixed in with these entertainment-oriented postings were several that touched on weightier and more serious topics. The user’s following, it could be guessed, were likely most interested in the former, without being wholly deprived of concern about the kinds of events that more usually make front page headlines.

In some ways, then, this usage of Twitter is a natural evolution of the kinds of RSS feeds that were popular with newshounds years ago. Instead of needing to trawl through the full output of any given news service, though, users who follow sources like Tellez are assured of receiving fully customized feeds every time they sign on.

That, in fact, is an important contributor to Twitter’s unmatched growth of recent years. While back and forth conversations are still a mainstay of the service, many of its users are also leveraging it in less-obvious ways.