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    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Reuters - New York food trucks turn to Twitter

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    New York food trucks turn to Twitter

    Friday, Mar 19, 2010 11:45PM UTC

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Whether it's fomenting revolution or telling people what you had for breakfast microblogging service Twitter seems to have it all.

    Now, New York City's enterprising mobile food vendors are using the instant messaging website to help their hoards of hungry followers stay tuned to their favorite delicacies.

    Kim Ima, owner of the Treats Truck, which serves up caramel creme sandwiches, sugar cookies with icing, and other diet busting delights, uses Twitter to stay in touch with her 3,000 fans.

    "For someone like Kim with St. Patrick's Day Parade on Wednesday, she wasn't sure if she was going to park here. So with Twitter she was able to provide location updates and we knew where to find her," said customer EJ Cory.

    Twitter allows users to enter messages from a computer or mobile phone, which are instantly transmitted to other users who choose to read their "tweets."

    The service riles some, who say it encourages people to post irrelevant details about their daily lives, such as what they had for breakfast.

    There are about 3,000 licensed food vending trucks in New York City, according The Street Vendor Project, representing a sizable niche for Twitter.

    Kenny Lao parks his Rickshaw Dumpling truck next to the Treats Truck most Fridays. He has been tweeting since his truck first hit the streets for business and says Twitter is an ideal tool to keep in touch with his 5,000 followers.

    "People really depend on us to be at certain locations on every day of the week and they get super-duper excited for dumpling day and this is the best way for us to tell them," he said.

    Twitter, founded in 2006, is free for its millions of users and its founders are still trying to turn the loss-making enterprise into a cash cow.

    Last year Twitter hit the headlines for the role it played in helping demonstrators in Iran organize anti-government protests. The White House famously asked Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance during the protests so demonstrators could stay connected.

    (Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Eric Beech)

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