This week, the enormously popular microblogging site, Twitter, celebrated its fifth birthday prompting many publications and websites to look back at the rise of the social networking tool.

With roughly 200 million users, Twitter has become what many regard as a ‘powerful tool for democracy’ offering insights into the minds of people around the world – from business leaders to celebrities to plain ordinary folk.

Perhaps the greatest impact Twitter has had is its ability to change the way we communicate – news is spread much faster and, in several cases, the site has helped to replace mainstream media as the primary source of information for people (particularly when it comes to crisis situations).

CNN had a particularly interesting article looking at five key ways Twitter has changed the way we communicate, which it sees as:

1. Making a fast flow of information faster

2. Allowing celebrities to communicate with their public directly

3. Creating new ‘thought leaders’ from all walks of life

4. Enabling ‘event’ participant to discuss it together in real time

5. (Over)simplifing the conversation

For more, you can read the full article online >