But the ability to add information with a shortened URL means that Twitter is also able to convey information and drive traffic in various directions. It is not just a little snippet, it is a pointer.
There have been some concerns expressed that Twitter is flatlining in growth, but it depends on which metric you look at. And if you look at the number of Tweets per month, growth is certainly still there. In fact, according to Royal Pingdom reporting in February 2010, the number of tweets on Twitter sent out in January 2010 doubled since August 2009, numbering nearly 40 million tweets per day (more than in the entire month of September 2008).
That growth perhaps evidences the mainstreaming of Twitter with institutional arrives to the medium. For example, there are a lot of news outlets on Twitter – CNN, to name one of dozens and dozens and they are there in force – not only for example as the main feed, but subdivided news by classification, so that one can only get tweets on politics or sports or whatever your interest – more evidence of the "niche-casting" nature of social media that allows consumers to pick their news rather than have it broadcast at them.
But I've also noticed an influx of mainstream reporters who have begun to tweet. It makes sense. They get to file endless "reports" all day long, and along the way, develop valuable relationships as well as potentially get information. For example, I follow @GStephanopoulos from GMA, @jaketapper from ABC News, @mhuckman from CNBC and @KimPainter from USA Today, along with several others. I have even formulated a Twitter list of reporters who are Tweeting. (This is including reporters only, not media outlets.) It is by no means complete, and if you are a reporter who would like to be added, please let me know.
And, if you are seeking more information about how to find people on Twitter, you may want to consult Twellow.com – which is the Twitter Yellow Pages and which includes a section on the media in Twitter.
So while many are still reticent to take social media seriously, in general and Twitter, in particular, there is good reason to reconsider. News is now being "broken" in 140 character snippets. It isn't just about the sandwich you ate for lunch any more.