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Communications

Twitter and Ambient Intimacy

How Evan Williams helped create the new social medium of microblogging.

Users of Twitter, a new social-networking tool, use the Web, mobile phones, and instant-messaging software to send and receive short, 140-character messages that answer the prompt, “What are you doing?” Launched in March, Twitter already has 500,000 users. Twitter encourages a new kind of social behavior that experts are calling presence–a shorthand for the idea that by using such tools, we can enjoy an intimate, “always on” virtual presence with our colleagues and friends.

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