What’s this? Twitter is an online social network that lets you share links, pictures and updates about what you’re doing – as long as you can say it in 140 characters!

How does it work? You sign up, then search for interesting people that you’d like to ‘follow’. Once you’re following someone you’ll see all the messages (known as ‘tweets’, and yes, we know that sounds really silly) that they post. You can reply to their messages, or ‘watch’ their conversations with other people.

Why do we use it? We use it to let people know about things we’ve posted online we think they might like.

We ask for opinion about stories and even give you background information about what’s going on in the newsroom.

We use it to break news – like this or this – and we use it to ask for help when we know something’s happening.

We want to give you more chance to let us know what you’re thinking… so why not sign up and have a chat?

Still not sure what’s in it for you? You can use Twitter from your computer or your phone, so if you like, you can always be connected.

Stuck in a traffic jam? Tweet us the details and we can tell you what the score is. Seen something really funny? Take a photo and post it to Twitter for everyone to see. Think we’ve made a mistake on a story? Let us know.

But it’s not just us. Twitter is a brilliant way to contact experts in all kinds of subjects. Not sure what computer to buy? The Twitterverse will be able to help. Want to know what real people think about the new Bond film, or the latest bestseller? Twitter can give you all that.

And there’s more.

Britney Spears, President-elect Barack Obama, Stephen Fry, John Cleese and Al Gore are just some of the famous names who use Twitter.

Stephen Fry’s been posting updates from remote regions of the globe, where he’s filming a series about endangered species. You can see them here – and all his pictures here.

Have a look first You don’t have to be signed up to Twitter to see what we’re saying…. Click here to go to the Echo’s Twitter page – and if you like it, why not try it?