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Not familiar with microblogging? Either you haven’t spent much time on the Internet in the last two years, or you don’t watch Oprah’s talk show regularly. (Twitter.com was recently showcased, causing a backlash from some early adopters who resented the seeming commercialization – or other possible reasons.)

That aside, microblogging is a means of communicating tidbits of information in much the same way you might text message someone with your cell phone. In fact, Twitter – the current king of microblogging services – is modelled on the same principle. With true microblogging services, you have up to 140 characters per message to say whatever you want, share links, report a tidbit of news.

Should You Microblog?
Not everyone is going to find value in microblogging. But the small percentage of users who do “get” its value for promoting their business or themselves – be they entrepreneurs or celebrities.

Reports around the blogosphere are that microblogging sites have a high “bounce” rate. That is, people sign up but often don’t use their account, or abandon it after a few months, never to return. My own experience is ignoring my accounts – I use a few services – for several months, exploring a bit, ignoring, then diving in full throttle. Or at least half-throttle. The fact is, if you’re going to use a microblogging service such as Twitter to promote yourself, the value increases with the size of your network. If no one is following your microblogging stream of updates, then you are not going to get much ROI (Return on Investment) for your efforts.

As a result, since new users have to learn how to build their network, it wouldn’t be surprising if the widespread of adoption of microblogging for promoting online (or offline) projects/ causes/ businesses/ organizations takes a few years. It took a long time for websites to be a “necessity” for most businesses, too.

Microblogging Platform Choices
Twitter, Facebook (status updates), Plurk, and Identi.ca are just a few of the microblogging options available. (The Pownce microblogging platform has been sold and the team absorbed into Six Apart.)

In terms of true microblogging platform, all indications are that Twitter is the most popular. However, with reports that maybe 10% of tweeters make up 80-90% of the content on Twitter, it seems that the service is not so widespread in use. Facebook, it could be argued, has wider penetration as a microblogging tool. However, since it allows for more than 140 characters in status messages, it’s not a true microblogging tool.

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