How to Twitter: why the world is Twitter crazy Twitter is taking the world by storm, leaving Facebook and email in its wake. We examine how the micro-blogging site is helping users in their personal and professional lives. By Lucy Atkins The Telegraph, last updated: 12:59PM GMT 05 Feb 2009 Are you tweeting yet? If not, you probably will be soon. Thanks to the public enthusiasm of several celebrity twitterers, this new mode of communication has suddenly become a national craze. Just as we once rushed to open email accounts or buy mobile phones, now we are signing up to Twitter at a fearsome rate. One-to-one communication is officially passé. Instead, it is suddenly essential to tell your friends, family, business contacts and even thousands of complete strangers what you are doing or thinking at every hour of the day or night. TV host Jonathan Ross and actor Stephen Fry are both keen twitterers. They discussed the joys of tweeting (the correct verb, according to a recent discussion on Twitter) on Ross’s recent comeback show, where Ross also recommended it to Hollywood star Tom Cruise, who might just start. Comedian Russell Brand and chef Jamie Oliver have recently signed up. Barack Obama famously tweeted throughout his campaign. John Cleese is a regular. Even Britney Spears is at it. But what exactly is Twitter? And should we care? According to web experts, this so-called “micro-blogging service” is the new Facebook. Facebook, in case you missed it, was (until Twitter happened) the new email; a social networking website on which you talk to friends, put up pictures and, increasingly, advance your career. But now the world is tweeting. Recent figures show a 974 per cent increase in Twitter traffic over the past year, shooting the website from the 2,953rd most visited site among UK users to the 291st most visited by mid-January this year. Industry analysts say that more than 2.25 million “tweets” – Twitter messages – are now posted every day worldwide. The good news for technophobes is that basic tweeting is so simple a child could do it. You log onto Twitter.com, create a “profile” – your picture, plus a few words – then start posting “tweets”. Tweets differ from emails in two ways: they are public – anyone on Twitter can find and read them – and they are always short: a maximum of 140 characters long. Other Twitterers choose to “follow” your tweets and you, in turn, decide to follow theirs. This way, you can find out, for instance, that your friend is on a ski lift and your colleague needs feedback on a product idea. (Tweets can contain links to other websites, documents or pictures.) You can also, of course, follow celebrities. Brand (nom de twit: Rustyrockets) has 20,000 followers. When Ross (“Wossy”) tweets, 55,000 people can learn how he has just fed his pet snake. Meanwhile, 120,000 twitterers (and counting) kept Fry company when he got stuck in a lift at Centre Point earlier this week. (“Hell’s teeth,” he tweeted. “We could be here for hours. A***, poo and widdle.”) More seriously, his support on Twitter for Bletchley Park has led to a surge in the number of people signing an online petition to save the former codebreaking establishment. Fry is now the third most popular Twitter user after Barack Obama (with 235,000 followers) and the Breaking News Twitter stream from CNN (135,000 followers).