TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It has been name dropped on TV and online, but three years after its debut, does anyone really know what Twitter is?
"I think a lot of young people use it," said a Tyler woman. "I don't really know."
"You say what you're doing and then that allows you to communicate with other people doing the same thing," said a Tyler man.
He was pretty close but simply said, Twitter is a free social messaging web site where you "follow" people and people can "follow" you. In 140 characters or less you can post messages, known as tweets that your followers can see .
To best explain Twitter, I will give you an example. I needed an East Texas twitterer for an interview so I typed up a quick request and sent a message out to my 301 followers. About five minutes later I checked my replies. At first, I struck out, but then I got two people who could meet up for an interview.
I met with "nmckinney28" and "Mr. Hijinx", not in person, but online using a completely unrelated technology: Skype. They attribute its popularity to its easy to use format.
"It's very simplistic," said nmckinney28. "It's not hard to use. My grandmother uses it, so I mean it's really cool to see just the age ranges."
"You can get breaking news," said Mr. Hijinx. "You can follow Fox News, CNN, your local stations."
So how does Twitter stack up against the big boys? We found numbers for the growth of Facebook, Google, and Twitter after three years. Facebook lead the pack with 27 million users, followed by Google at 18 million and Twitter got the bronze with 8 million users. 4 million of those people joined just in the last four months, and, if used right, Twitter can make life a little bit easier.
For the skeptics questioning the usefulness of having people follow every move, it does have its perks. You can send an update from almost anywhere via text message - even the park!