Not a day goes by that Twitter doesn't make headlines.
There's the good news: this service can help companies reach consumers, boost profits, it's a key tool in organizing social protest, and it can help politicians reach constituents.
There's also bad news: lawsuits for defamation on Twitter are just one unintended consequence of the new technology.
Twitter's popularity is exploding; there are no official stats, but it has in the ballpark of 35 million users. So how can all this attention can be turned into profits?
As of now the company has zero revenue.
Twitter's appeal and its profit potential lies in its simplicity. Anyone with a cell phone can broadcast a 140 character message. That means that the potential audience is the four billion people around the world with mobile phones, two and a half times the number of Internet users. Silicon Valley insiders describe Twitter's trajectory as starting with "the ham sandwich" conversation. Users would chat with their friends about what they had for lunch that day, where they were heading after work. As the audience grew nearly exponentially, so did the type of conversations.