Twitter and "tweets" may be new words in the pop-lexicon, but if you aren't sure what they mean, you're behind the times. Twitter is a social networking service provider. Unlike popular social networking Web sites like Facebook and MySpace, Twitter is a very basic concept. On Facebook and MySpace, users can create detailed Web pages complete with videos, images and lots of information (some might say too much). Twitter relies mainly on cell phone texting services to send out messages not longer than 140 characters to anyone who is in your network of contacts. These messages are called tweets, and tweeting is the verb that's been born out of the act of sending a message via Twitter. In order to give or receive a tweet, you need a Twitter account. Got all that?
Despite Twitter's basic approach to messaging, it has become wildly popular. In 2008 and into 2009, celebrities have gotten on the Twitter train and use the service to stay in touch with fans, give updates on daily activities to anyone who "follows" their tweets and instantly comment on rumors without going through the press. Once the celebrity has a nice following of fans, those fans then hit the Internet and before you know it, millions of people are in the know about anything a celebrity wants to reveal. Britney ate pancakes for breakfast, ya'll. Ashton thinks the weather in New York is boss. Shaquille is telling people to "Shhhhhh" during halftime of an NBA game.
It may be a flash in the pan; no one can tell at this point. But for now, celebrities have embraced Twitter -- even President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth are tweeting. On the following pages are the top five celebrities on Twitter, as of April 2009. Of course, these stats are out of date by the time they're typed onto the page, but such is life in the fast moving world of Twitter.