Twitter is a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives. It can be accessed via the web, IM and SMS. All you have to do is sign up and then answer one single question, “What are you doing?” It is a great way to keep in touch with your online (and offline) friends. However, living in Australia makes this social networking tool a little harder to access than it should be. Sure you can go online and twitter to your heart’s content – but what if you are actually offline (yes, it does sometimes happen) and you want to twitter about your commute to work or what happened at your local gaming store? If you were in the US or the UK, you would just whip out your mobile phone and send a text message to a local number. However, Twitter doesn’t have a local number for Australian users, so we are forced to text the UK. Since Optus has just increased their prices, this little Twitter now costs 50c a message. That doesn’t sound too bad until you start to add up all those 50c messages. Say you twitter twice a day from your mobile phone, at the end of the month, you can expect to see an additional $30 on your bill. Ouch!
So Aussie Twitters on the Optus network, and I dare say the others will also increase their prices if they haven’t already, just be prepared for a shock when you open up next month’s phone bill. If you don’t like it, you can petition Twitter to give us our very own local number. If Twitter gets bombarded by requests they might realise that Australia is a big enough market to warrant their own local number. We may be located a very long way away from the rest of the world, but in this technological age, distance shouldn’t prevent us from using tools like Twitter in the same way as the rest of the world does.