Twitter is an online, free social network platform that provides users with the ability to micro-blog. For the uninitiated, it's simply a way of sending short, public messages - similar to text messaging - to update fellow users as to what they're doing, have discovered or are about to do.

Using Twitter can be very lucrative, for those in the know. Equally, it can be a way for individuals to keep abreast of what's hot - and what's not. There are many types of users, ranging from Hollywood stars, review sites, pro-bloggers and info providers down to plain old little people - like you and me.

Twitter (as it is now) first appeared on the web social scene in late 2007. And its enjoyed a remarkable boom in popularity. However, what's interesting to know is the fact that despite being one of the fastest growing online social network sites, Twitter only manages to hold on to roughly 40% of its users.

That said, Twitter is good for what it is: social networking. There's been many a success story due to Twitter use - Moonfruit spring to mind. They are a UK based company that advertised - by way of Twitter - that they were giving away a free laptop every day (for 10 days). Twitter users just had to send an inventive message, aimed at Moonfruit, and it had to include the following hash tag - #moonfruit. The companies' profile rocketed, as did their sales. And all because they used a very simple idea. Pure genius.

In essence, Twitter is almost evolutionary in the world of blogging. It somehow removed the effort that blogging involves and created a platform whereby short, snappy and inventive text became the norm. From around the time Twitter began to take off, a whole new world sprang up in its wake.

Or should that be 'Twitterverse'? As it gained in popularity, the site began to inadvertently create a new dictionary of words and terms. As of now, the following words are cool, hip and happening on Twitter:

  • Tweet - simply the micro-blog message

  • Tweeting - sending the messages

  • ReTweet - resending popular messages

  • Twitterverse - the site itself

  • Tweeple - Twitter users

  • Tweeterboxes - users who over-tweet

  • Twitratti - the cream of Twitter users

There are many more and I'm sure such a 'Twittonary' would be better written as an article - but I think you could the picture.

In short, Twitter is a great way to get your message out there - whatever your message is. And though it does appear complicated when you first join, a bit of quality Googling for a 'Twitter How To' should help you on your way. Now if you've finished reading this overview - I've got to sign in to Twitter. I have an urge to Tweet