Twitter is finally trying to answer the question ‘What is Twitter?’

Twitter’s biggest challenge in all its IPO hoopla sounds relatively simple, but in fact has proved quite difficult: Explain itself. To you and me and everyone else who’s familiar with the huge, seemingly uncontrollable world of Twitter, there’s sense in the subtweets and hashtags and Internet-speak.

But to someone else – say, a Wall Street investor – who’s perhaps a little more old school media, it’s an indefinable website that can’t just be one thing. And so it’s confusing, and perhaps a gamble.

Twitter no longer has the luxury of being confusing. It’s a publicly traded company now and that means it should be easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to throw money at.

A video in which Twitter tries to help define itself has surfaced; the YouTube video was published back in February, but was unlisted so unless someone shared the URL itself with you, you wouldn’t have seen it. Last week, however, a new verified Twitter account, @TwitterGuide, popped up. The handle gives new users tips and explanations about the surface, and tweeted out the video.

A few of the ways Twitter explains itself:

  • It’s like a newspaper that automatically updates as news happens.
  • It gives you perspective and access you can’t find anywhere else.
  • You don’t have to read everything, just check when it’s convenient – like while you’re waiting in line for coffee. 
  • In moments, Twitter can get you up to speed on everything that’s happening.

Watch the video below and see if you agree with this home-brewed definition of Twitter.

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