Twitter Continue to Evolve Into a Primary Social Outlet for Users

Even as Twitter’s leaders search desperately for a way to monetize the popular service, few doubt it will be around for the long haul. Originally something of a curiosity in the online sphere, Twitter has grown at a consistently ferocious rate. While many early users thought of the place as a supplement to other online social networks, it has become the primary outlet for many of the savviest and most active participants.

A look at the usage patterns of one user typical of this cohort might give some ideas as to how the service has become so successful. With over three hundred followers, and following over nine hundred users herself, user Cynthia Weymout has a network graph of the kind that seems to best typify this new generation of Twitter-focused users.

As with many users today, she spends a great deal of her Twitter time forwarding messages that arrive in her stream. The rough equivalent of “liking” a post on Facebook, the so-called “retweet” is the means by which social events on the network spread beyond the original, confined circles they are released into. Within minutes of going out, a new tweet can be retweeted so extensively that it will find an audience of millions instead of the hundreds who were originally exposed to it.

While retweeting is a focus of most users on the network, those with any kind of following inevitably introduce plenty of new content on their own. This is the case with the example at hand here, as she typically offers up a few fresh comments and observations every day, without fail. While some of these will inevitably be the kinds of mundane, everyday remarks that frequently produced derision for the network in its early days, most will be comments on recent events.

As Twitter becomes increasingly central to the lives of so many users, those events are more and more likely to take place on the network itself. The introduction of a particularly successful new hashtag, for example, is often a notable event on its own account today, as fine an example of so-called “meta” as is likely to be found anywhere.