Twitter is your microblogging service of choice; the omnipresent medium, which lets you communicate 140 character messages to your circle of followers or public streams. It introduced a new use of the word “tweeting” and made the shortening of URLs vitally important. In 2009, research company eMarketer estimated the number of Twitter users to surpass the 18 million mark over the course of 2010.

But besides celebrities, mega-socialites and brands that keep you posted about their [promotional] activities, Twitter gains importance on other levels.

The prime example may be the 2009 Iranian presidential election, which was a hot issue [or rather a trending topic] for weeks. By clicking on a link which had been shared via tweets, users had the possibility to show their support of the democracy movement by adding a green layer or a green ribbon to their Twitter profile picture. The organization of the protests in Iran also widely took place via the social media site.

On a far less scandalous, but certainly more hilarious level, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) uses Twitter as a surveillance tool. It appears as though people tend to tweet first and then call the authorities, hence the USGS is looking out for tweets like “EARTHQUAKE!”.

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Finally, Toby Bloomberg, of Bloomberg Marketing and the Diva Marketing Blog used Twitter in a wholly different way, when she shifted all interviews she conducted for her new book Social Media Marketing GPS on the social media platform. Certainly, that’s not only a very 21st century way of doing things, but also incredibly efficient – after all, 140 characters force people to be precise.

What is the strangest, newest or most interesting way you have or have seen Twitter used?