On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet, which simply said, “inviting coworkers.” Now, five years later, the social media “microblogging” site has become an integral part of the world’s culture.
Considered to be an experiment in microblogging since it limits users to writing no more than 140 characters at a time (called “tweets”), Twitter asks a simple, yet vital question: “What’s happening?” And on an almost daily basis, its 200 million users respond, from luminaries in the technology field, to popular celebrities, to the president of the United States.
At first, Twitter’s growth was slow. In 2007, only a year after it had begun, there were only about 5,000 tweets per day. Three years, two months, and a day later, over a billion tweets had been sent in total since the site began. Now, there are over 140 million tweets every day, at a rate of about 1,600 every second, which adds up to over a billion tweets per week.
The power and reach of Twitter is undeniable, and has become a broadcast channel for major news events around the world. Highly publicized incidents such as Michael Jackson’s death and Charlie Sheen’s problems with CBS have set the Twitterverse a-tweeting. However, other important happenings have also found a communications source in the social networking site; during the political uprisings in Egypt, Iran, Moldova, and Tunisia, anti-government protestors used Twitter as a hub for communications, coordinating plans and broadcasting their message to the world through their tweets. Even more recently, Twitter’s importance to worldwide communications was solidified after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. On March 11, Twitter says a record 6,939 tweets were sent per second immediately following the earthquake, and over 177 million tweets were sent that day. Twitter has also become a major marketing tool for businesses across the world. Many major companies use Twitter to advertise special deals and get their consumers talking about their products, capitalizing on the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
Last month, it was estimated that Twitter’s worth was between $8 to $10 billion. There is no doubt that Twitter has forever changed the way we communicate online, and it is a powerful force that is here to stay. Using Twitter is an essential part of a legal Internet marketing plan, and if you aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities that this social networking site and others offer, you should strongly consider doing so. Social media provides another way for you to connect with potential clients and others in your field, and also offers you an avenue in which to communicate news about your law firm and other relevant issues within your field. Twitter has shown that the modern consumer desires information that is immediate and transparent, and from a source that is seen as friendly and approachable. If you have yet to create a Twitter account for your law firm, now more than ever is the time to join the conversation.