Written by Emma Vetriano • Published 9th December 2011 • 1 minute read

Who could have known in 2006 when Twitter was launched that five years later it would have well over 200 million users worldwide?

The micro-blogging site that was previously expected to be a mobile personal update service had people doubting how a minimal 140 characters would ever be of any use to anyone…

In this post, I take a look at how the tone of Twitter has changed through the prompting question and the greeting message.

2006:  Prompting question began at ‘What are you doing?’

This question promotes a tweet limited to the individual: allowing for personal musings.  BUT with Twitter being such an open network this question appeared quite limiting. It was evidently ignored by people and businesses sharing anything and everything they wanted with little regard for the initial question.

2009:  Prompting question changed to ‘What’s happening?’

By changing this simple question, Twitter has opened the doors for a myriad of responses. I argue that this is symbolic for Twitter growth: a reflection of how the platform has reached far beyond its original expectations.

Compare the Twitter tagline 2011 to that of two years previously and it clearly reflects this change:

2009: ‘Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world’.

2011: ‘Follow your interests. Instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favourite celebrities, and what’s happening around the world’.

So what does this mean for the future of Twitter? From 2006 – 2011 Twitter has shifted from a personal updating device to a global learning platform. Twitter continues to unravel the ‘now’. 

Instead of asking for a series of personal updates from users, it transcended and opened the doors for people and businesses to share any content.

I am convinced that Twitter will continue to evolve and only time will tell the direction it will take next year….

In order to get the most out of Twitter for your company, it is important to acknowledge the expanding nature of the micro-blogging site. It is a communications tool – a learning platform containing a huge trove of valuable information about YOUR customers. The trick is to tap into this information and react accordingly…

I suggest there are four simple steps to take:

Talk, Listen, Engage and React.

Companies should embrace Twitter, develop a personality and evolve with the platform itself. Think of how easy business communication could be if you were always restricted to getting your point across in 140 characters….