Starting to twitter?

If you are a journalist or aid worker, Twitter could prove to be a useful tool.

Twitter allows you to send messages of up to 140 characters from a mobile phone or the internet to the global internet community. It is a micro-blogging tool that allows you to communicate with other “tweeters” - to ask a specialist question or provide a brief tip-off about a bomb blast, for example, or to tell people what you’ve just seen or heard.

Illustrating Twitter at work - Marshall Kirkpatrick in How We Use Twitter for Journalism, for example, writes that Twitter users reported a major earthquake in Mexico City and in USA several minutes before the USGS did. They also beat the world's leading news agencies to break the news about the March earthquakes in both China and Japan.

According to Graham Holliday, digital media editor at the UK-based Frontline Club, in an article entitled A little bird told me, Twitter is still something of a niche tool and the user base is largely confined to the USA, Western Europe and Japan.