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The digital scholar
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1.4  Twitter as a social network

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Figure 4 Twitter

Blogs provide a good example of how interdisciplinary knowledge can be disseminated.

Another example is the social network, which potentially allows for connections between people and content across disciplines. I will take Twitter as the example for a social network here to explore this, although it could be applied to other tools equally well.

It was launched into the mainstream in 2007 and was a big success at the influential SXSW conference that year. One of the key elements in its success has been its open API, which allowed other developers to build applications using the Twitter data. This meant that people didn't need to even visit the Twitter website to use it; they could instead use one of the many different clients. This open API approach has seen unpredictable and wide-ranging uses of Twitter, including use as a public log for activities such as running and weight loss, picture sharing services, data analysis, news and market trend monitoring, management of Twitter network, link shortening, archiving tweets, polling and so on.

Although Twitter is not open source, this open approach in terms of how people access it and what they use it for has allowed the network to grow and make it a default network for many different groups of people.