Twitter was created on March 31, 2006 when the man who is credited with conceiving the idea, Jack Dorsey, wrote the original code version. From that day forward, Twitter has now become arguably the hottest and fastest growing brand on the Internet. If you somehow have completely missed all the popular hype, and actually don’t know what Twitter is, Wikipedia defines Twitter as: ”a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet.”
From humble beginnings Twitter has grown quickly to become a huge and robust online community. It has recently been reported by theÂ BBC that theÂ Twitter service has grown nearly tenfold over the past year in the UK. The original usage data was gathered by analytics company Hitwise. According to the published reports, Twitter has now overtaken social networking portal Digg in popularity. One boost to Twitter’s popularity came a few weeks ago as Oprah Winfrey joined the service – and concurrently Aston Kutcher and CNN raced to be the first Twitter account to garner 1,000,000 followers (Aston Kutcher won).
I first became aware of the true potential of Twitter earlier this year. In February there was a massive snowstorm which blanketed the UK from top to bottom with snow levels that topped over a foot in many places. Although weather reports guessed at snow amounts across the country, it was impossible to use satellite images of the snowfall in real time. That’s because the cloud cover prevented the satellites from seeing the ground. One prescient developer named Ben Marsh came up with a unique and helpful idea: get the general UK Twitter population to report on the snowfall at their location in the UK, then create a mashup of that Twitter-reported data by plotting the results on a Google map. The result was a real-time graphical map of the snowfall amounts as reported by people who are actually there on the ground.Â UK Techcrunch and theÂ BBC picked up the story, which quickly created a bandwidth challenge for Ben Marsh’s hosting provider – reseller web hosting company 34SP.com.
Despite the massive additional traffic to the site and the bandwidth requirements to keep it live,Â hosting from 34SP.com stepped up to the challenge. Daniel Foster, founder and Technical Director at 34SP.com explained, ”Our bandwidth is supplied by Level 3, AboveNet, and Cogent. This is a fully BGP routed, multi-homed network. Failure of any two of the three providers won’t affect connectivity. Additionally, the 34SP.com network operates far below total capacity, so any unexpected increases in usage will not cause any network disruptions. This is a key consideration when someone like Ben Marsh gets significant media attention in a short period.”
So now Twitter has been embraced by the larger website hosting community. Consider thatÂ HostingCon – the largest gathering of web hosting professionals each year – is actively using Twitter to market the show and keep attendees informed of the latest happenings. Large web hosts like Rackspace are using Twitter to communicate and reach out to their clients. The massive popularity of hosting with the Twitter audience can easily be observed by simply checking out the search feature at Twitter and typing in the search phrase:Â web hosting.
As the importance and audience numbers of Twitter grow, look for additional web hosting properties and brands to add themselves to the Twitter community. If you are interested in joining Twitter to see what it’s all about go to:Â https://twitter.com/signup.