Now that spring is finally here we can enjoy the magnificent sound of a million Twitterers tweeting away on the world according to them. Phil Clark looks at the rise of yet another global internet phenomenon

Blogging, as I’ve probably mentioned in previous columns, is as much a means of disseminating news and information as an irreverent diary opportunity. This has also become apparent for the Twitter, the website that allows users to post immediate updates on their status from their PC or laptop or mobiles. It has been called “microblogging”, as you’re restricted to 140 characters. So far more than a million Twitterers have signed up.

These updates form the basis of your own page on Twitter, which includes your latest tweets (yes, that’s what they’re called) as well as those from other users you decide to follow. You can then receive the latest updates from people via text or find them on your Twitter homepage.

Initially the take-up for Twitter was from bedroom web fanatics with the misguided impression that their latest trip to the bathroom or the supermarket was worthy of attention. It will never take off, we cried – it’s childish and pointless. This response was eerily similar to early criticisms of blogging.

Well, now we are seeing take-up from all sorts of sources. As it has grown in popularity, anyone with a website or a blog can use Twitter as they do anything else on the web – to get more traffic. Hence, you can now follow news updates from national newspaper websites such as The Guardian and The Times, as well as Gordon Brown’s latest utterances. Democratic hopeful Barrack Obama is the most popular Twitterer, attracting 28,000 followers.

On the Building site in the last month, news editor Sarah Richardson and senior reporter Dan Stewart have Twittered on the Office of Fair Trading investigation. And there’s take-up from some in the industry as well, mostly from those already blogging. I’m an avid follower of architect Rob Annable who Twitters at, including this thought on voting last week: “Exercising democratic right afforded me thanks to the spilt blood of my ancestors. Chunkily satisfying pencil as weapon.”