Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service created by then Cornell student Jack Dorsey that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can send and receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS (receive only), or through applications such as Tweetie, Twitterrific, Twitterfon, TweetDeck and feedalizr. The service is free to use over the web, but using SMS may incur phone services provider fees.
Twitter has received extensive visibility and popularity worldwide. Twitter is often described as the "SMS of Internet", in that the site provides the back-end functionality (via its APIs) to other desktop and web-based applications to send and receive short text messages, often obscuring the actual website itself.
Four gateway numbers are currently available for SMS — short codes for the United States, Canada, and India, and a United Kingdom-based number for international use. There is also a short code for Vodafone users from the UK. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via email.
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