There was a time when knowing your hashtags, retweeting, and having a large number of followers could get anything from strange looks to an arrest warrant to government surveillance but today it is part of the everyday parlance of Twitter, a social networking site where users post messages, similar to SMS or MMS messages to a page the user maintains.

The messages are short, immediate, and transient in nature but powerful because most users utilize the service through their cell phones and the viral potential for any given message is great due to the ease of reposting or "retweeting".

Posts or "tweets" can be viewed based upon their source or content. You are able to view all the posts of people or entities you follow, as well as areas of interest that are typically identified by the "#" (referred to as a hashtag).

The entertainment value to individuals is that the communication is instantaneous and fairly unobtrusive - like being able to text all your friends at once. To a business, twitter can be another effective social reach to customers like Facebook, only with more immediate impact. Once a substantial follower base is built, Twitter can become a very effective promotional tool for sales and customer service.