18 March 2011
The social networking site, Twitter is five years old today. It has grown from having a few thousand users to more than 175 million members around the world. The BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones spoke about the impact of Twitter on BBC Radio 5 live.
Click to hear the report:
Rory Cellan-Jones: Well, I'm just looking at another tweet right now from a journalist, saying: "Twitter's five today - the most important innovation for journalists in that time. Not much good for insomnia though," and I think that's about right. The first thing I do every morning is have a look at it, because it's become an extraordinary means of communicating news. I find that the first I see of news is it breaking on Twitter.
Rachel Burden: Rory, can you just literally explain how it works for those people who don't know, who don't use it?
Rory Cellan-Jones: It's a system for putting out messages that are no more than 140 characters long, so, the length of a text message, really. And you put your message out there, and gradually you hope that more and more people follow you. It's a system slightly like Facebook, where you've got friends, but much more public. And on Twitter you have followers, and you follow people. So, I'm following you, Rachel. I hope you're following me. I'm following about 1,000 people. I think we've all learnt over the years, those are the people who use Twitter, to, you know, walk this little line between the personal and the professional.
And I certainly find it useful professionally - a, to see news, and b, to get news. If you put a message out there and say: "Who knows about X?" - you'll find the world's experts on Twitter, and they will come to you.
Nicky Campbell: Completely, and also to share links with people as well?
Rory Cellan-Jones: That's right. I think that's become more and more important. You see an interesting article, and you put it out there, and everyone can see it. And it’s a quick way of reading the news in the morning.
Click to hear the vocabulary:
new or original idea or invention
medical condition which causes people to have difficulty sleeping
- about right
close to the truth
way or method
- breaking on Twitter
being told or revealed for the first time on Twitter, before any other news source
- putting out
- out there
here, online or on the internet
- walk this little line
achieve a balance or strike a balance
hyperlinks, website addresses
here, piece of writing which has been published on a website or other online platform