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Twitter, a form of microblogging, is a form of communication similar to 'chat'. Twitter limits each post to 140 characters so that the nature of the communication is succinct.

More information about Twitter and microblogging

Introduction to Twitter/Microblogging in Social Media Classrooms
How to use Twitter for Social Learning This is a very comprehensive guide

Using microblogging as a community event Gabriela Grosseck
The ultimate Twitter guidebook for teachers
8 reasons an innovative educator uses Twitter Lisa Nielson
Posts about Twitter to convince non users by Edna Sackson - Post 1 and Post 2

Twitter as backchannel

Things you should know about backchannel conversation (Educause) How you can use 'chat' to support learning