Twitter is one of the most popular micro-blogging websites in the world. It has a user base of around 200 million which generates approximately 340 million tweets per day. Twitter, as a platform, represents one of the largest and the most dynamic datasets of user-generated content in the world.
Just like most other social networking websites, the content on Twitter is real time. Tweets about an event, festival, calamity, or a celebration are tweeted during and immediately after the occurrence. This also provides brands and organizations with the opportunity to hear what existing and potential customers have to say about their products and services. This is a very time efficient and low-cost method of measuring the performance or success of a product/brand/campaign/project without the traditional expensive and time-consuming surveys and tedious requests for consumer feedback.
Tweets are public, but a user can also send private messages. Users can tweet via the Twitter website, Twitter App through smartphones, and also by “Short Message Service (SMS)” which is available in certain countries. Users can follow other users, communities, and can also share their feed or tweets by retweeting them. Twitter also allows the use of hashtags in its posts which groups the tweets together by the hashtags used. Similarly, a user can post a tweet specifying a particular user using “@” sign followed by the username.
Based on the web-traffic analysis of the website Alexa, Twitter is ranked the 12th most visited website in the world. According to statista.com blog entry, Twitter ranked as a 10th most used social network on the basis of 319 million monthly visitors in April 2017. Twitter follows the principle of followers. So, when any user chooses to follow another user, then the user’s tweet will appear in reverse chronological order on your Twitter main page.
Tweets can be encompassed by the following:
a) Text: The text or message user want to deliver. All the messages usually are of short length limiting up to 280 characters which are used to express the opinions. The text can be embodied with hashtags “#” which is usually followed by texts. Each hashtag has some community associated with it. These are a great way of communicating and taking notes through crowdsourcing. These texts can also contain the username using “@” followed by username which can be used to mention the user for that particular tweet.
b) URL: A shortened URL allows the user to retain characters, and often provides some analytic measurements. This shortened URL address helps the user to identify the full URL by hovering over the link. Examples: (bit.ly, goo.gl, etc.)
c) Image or Video: Users can tweet any image or video to makes their opinion on some topic and this doesn’t restrict up to 280 characters. These multimedia features enable the user to understand the context of the tweet in some cases. The media may not be useful in determining the sentiment, which we do not consider in this prospect.
A tweet can be retweeted if the user wants to share the opinion with their followers or it can be liked by someone if someone agrees with the opinion shared by the original writer.
Tweets were also used in the various electoral campaigns across different countries and various sports games and movie reviews, etc so get the opinion about some topics and also users can poll their views or votes for some topics.