Some people use it in almost the same way now. They can tweet once and have it reach 20 (or 200 or ?) family or group members at once. It has massive potential as a disaster rescue tool, an aggregator of information from the ground up--and citizen communication.
There are journalists on twitter who retweet (gather and send out to their followers) a constant stream of mobile and other tweets by citizens in the streets of the world, dealing with local crises. This week there is much news from Bahrain and Yemen and Egypt and elsewhere.
the # hashtag mark denotes topics and allows you to occupy a space filled with people who are addressing that topic, 140 characters at a time. They argue, they convince, they share solutions, they support each other, they make joyous human noise. Free.
# the band/actor/celebrity of your choice
Or, this morning, # Wisconsin
Image taken in Rabat, Morocco