COVER STORY - HeraldTribune.com
Welcome to the Twitter Nation
By Steve Echeverria Jr.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 9:02 a.m.
Right place, right time.
Three weeks after Janis Krums "tweeted" one of the first images of US Airways Flight 1549 ditched in the Hudson River, he still explains capturing the photo and posting a link on his Twitter page with the same answer.
Right place, right time.
For someone who seldom used Twitter -- the free online service that allows users to send short messages, called "tweets," to friends and subscribers
(or followers) -- prior to snapping "The Miracle on the Hudson," it has been an education in technological advances, and usefulness.
"Before (Flight 1549), my reach was 170 followers," said Krums during a recent phone interview.
"Once I posted the link to the photo, it just exploded," said the Bird Key businessman, who now boasts more than 4,000 followers. "Some of my followers started re-tweeting the post and it went from 170 to being seen on all the TV networks and in the newspapers," he said. "It's not like I sent it to CNN."
Krums' split-second decision to post the photo on Twitter via his iPhone, and the subsequent media attention, once again exposed the public to one of the most popular Web services since Facebook and MySpace.
Founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams while working for a San Francisco-based podcasting company, Twitter gained nationwide attention a year later at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, where flat-panel displays located throughout the convention showed attendees' Twitter activity.
Simply put, Twitter is a social-networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters.
Throughout the day, followers receive terse updates -- up to 20 per page. Additional software allows users to post links to photos and video as well.
By the time SXSW was over, Twitter took home the conference's "Web Award."
"We'd like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!" said co-founder Jack Dorsey during his SXSW acceptance speech.
Since SXSW, Twitter's accolades have come in the form of notables who regularly use it, such as President Barack Obama. Twitter has also grabbed headlines during catastrophes, like the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November and the 2007 California wildfires, when the Los Angeles Fire Department gave "tweet" updates to residents.
The bird has flown the coop, and that makes Bradenton Web developer Craig Shipp happy.
"It's a quick way to get information for what I'm working on and what I want people to know about," he said.
Shipp has been using Twitter "very actively" for the past year, operating separate pages for two existing Web sites.
With about 60 followers, Shipp monitors about 100 "feeds," ranging from sites dedicated to curiosities to tech news.
Still, Shipp knows his limits.
"Some people try to get all the followers they can, but I actually want to read Twitter posts," he said. "I could have 20,000 followers, but there's no way I could follow their posts."
Like most users, Shipp enjoys finding online tools that make Twitter more useful.
At the moment, he's toying around with 12second.tv [correction the URL is 12seconds.tv], a micro-video blog that allows Twitter users to "tweet" video.
"So if that gentleman had shot video of (Flight 1549) crashing in the Hudson," Shipp said, "he could have posted a 12-second video on Twitter."Full article: