1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Twitter is a social platform that provides users to follow one other and send messages that are limited to 140 characters. Relationships on Twitter may be entirely one-sided, unlike on other social networking platforms. For example, one user may follow another without the later being obligated to follow the first. Twitter burst onto the scene in March 2006, owing to its simple user interface, which stood in sharp contrast to its rivals, who were allowing users complete customization of their personal pages at the time, resulting in a crowded, gaudy appearance (Experian, 2009).
Twitter has always welcomed third-party developers, providing a flexible application programming interface (API) and enjoying unparalleled celebrity appeal (Twitter Counter, 2010). However, despite its widespread popularity and extensive mainstream media attention, Twitter's growth has lagged behind that of Google and Facebook after their respective first three years. Google has 18 million users, Facebook has 27 million, and Twitter has 8 million (Battelle, 2009). As Twitter approaches its fifth year of operation, it can no longer be considered a new kid on the block, but many people are still unsure of its purpose or if it has any value for them. It's "for finding and sharing what's going on in your life right now," according to Twitter. While this is accurate, and regrettably, by its very nature, most of the material posted is ‘pointless chatter,' it fails to see Twitter's economic potential (Java et al., 2007).