Microblogging is a web service that allows the subscriber to broadcast short messages to other subscribers of the service. Microposts can be made public on a Web site and/or distributed to a private group of subscribers. Subscribers can read microblog posts online or request that updates be delivered in real time to their desktop as an instant message or sent to a mobile device as an SMS text message.
The appeal of microblogging is both its immediacy and portability. Posts are brief (typically 140 – 200 characters) and can be written or received with a variety of computing devices, including cell phones. Although most microblog broadcasts are posted as text, some microblogging services allow video or audio posts.
Microblogging is slowly moving into the mainstream. In the United States, for example, Presidential candidate Barack Obama microblogged from the campaign trail using Twitter, one of the most popular microblogging services. Traditional media organizations, including The New York Times and the BBC, have begun to send headlines and links in microblog posts. Other potential applications of microblogging include traffic and sports updates and emergency broadcast systems.