Twitter is an anomaly in the world of social networking. The platform gives you the chance to speak your mind in 140 characters or less. Initially, it was feared that the idea didn’t have potential but boy has it caught on. Today, it seems that the world would come to a halt without Twitter. Looking over the applications of Twitter, one can conclude that it is nothing less than a revolution.

News Reader

Eyewitnesses to any occurrence can report what happened in 140 characters before the news channel even know what happened. Twitter has become a virtual news source for you. The most recent example of this was the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Even with news camera present, the news broke out on Twitter before the channels picked it up.

Company Disclosures

Identifying the reality that many investors likely get more information from Facebook and Twitter than a company’s financials and that most public companies have a robust social media presence, the SEC recently weighed in on the use of social media by public companies to disclose material nonpublic information to the general public. With the SEC adoption of social media, companies can now communicate material information across social channels, including twitter. So companies can now use social media to communicate material information as long as they make their social channels known and clearly state where they will direct their attention. Investors won’t have to scour the internet for information or read through company financials.

General Solicitation

General solicitation is so far not expressly allowed on Twitter but the matter is under discussion. It won’t be long before companies would be able to use Twitter for soliciting and advertising to the general public without any restrictions, thanks to the emergence of Crowdfunding.

Data Mining

Twitter search is becoming more comprehensive each passing day. With almost 2,500 tweets posted every second, there is a plethora of information to navigate through. Tweeters can perform advanced searches to be very specific about the search query. Using hashtags (#) for specific words in tweets, makes the tweet indexed for search by topic; especially interesting or urgent tweets tend to get picked up and retransmitted by other Tweeters, a practice known as retweeting.

Mass Movements

Mass movements make use of Twitter in the best possible way, given its decentralized nature and ability to spread. You only need to tweet where you are and what’s going on to get your friends to join you there. This has been the case with the Iran protests as well as the Arab Spring movements that took place last year.

Customer Service

People are using their Twitter feeds to post complaints or questions they have related to a brand or business. By responding to these messages, businesses are using Twitter for providing quality customer service. When I needed assistance with an issue my company was facing using Salesforce, Twitter came in handy because the customer service wasn’t responding to my emails.

Instant Messaging

Twitter can serve as an instant messaging service, providing you with an opportunity to be heard by even those individuals that you otherwise would never have a means of reaching out to. All you need to know is their Twitter handle (For eg mine is @sohinshah1)

Personal Branding

Set up your personal profile on Twitter, describing yourself in as much detail as possible. You can share virtually everything about yourself. Plus Twitter picks up on the topics you constantly tweet about, to make your profile more comprehensive. Thus, you have the chance to use it for personal branding and ‘selling’ yourself to the world!

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