Back in the autumn of 2013, I took a class in which we had to do a business analysis on Twitter right before and during their move to go public. Before then I had never really given Twitter any thought; to me it was just another social network where people blurted out their random, thoughtless comments to a large space of endless information. But I now see that the founders of this revolutionary platform were seriously on to something and have paved the way to a totally new way of communicating and networking.
Twitter gives life to “the random, fleeting observation” and forces us to put as much meaning as we can in a very limited amount of space. The entire Twitter world may not necessarily use the platform to produce anything profound or very informative, but it at least gives us that option. Basically, the only thing limiting Twitter users is the form of the message: 140 characters or fewer.
Sometimes it can become very frustrating trying to coherently fit everything you want to say into so many (or little) characters, but it allows us to think creatively to put together the perfect tweet.
I began using Twitter last fall while working on the company’s analysis, and now use it more as a log of events, random thoughts, and things I find cool and retweet. The most interesting part for me is being able to receive information in real-time; to be able to see the Twitter conversation about a certain subject or event at that very moment from people all over the world. This new media follows with the observation in previous lectures that blogging allows for conversation to develop, and that’s exactly what Twitter does. This micro-blogging platform provides you the means to communicate and learn from others from all around the world in quick and short blurbs.
I believe Twitter has had a significant influence on how people now interact with media and it has fueled this debate of whether Google is making us stupider or smarter. There has been a shift away from the traditional style of reading (paper, books, etc.) towards digital reading (tablets, phones, Kindles, etc.).
I personally boycott Kindles and reading tablets, because I am a firm believer in paper books. Also, for some reason, I have a harder time focusing when reading a novel on a tablet than if I were holding the actual paper book in my hands.
Books are cool. And the Internet is cool too, but in a different way. I love surfing the Web, clicking around, and seeing what I’ll learn and find. It’s like a hyperactive and interactive quest to knowledge and information.
Even for this assignment, the process of following a couple of authors from the readings was done in a very quick, Google-search type of way. What I mean is the point Rushkoff mentions in the oversimplification of everyday problems; I needed to find and follow these certain people, so I typed in keywords, skimmed their bios to see if they were the right person, followed them, and skipped on to the next one. Quick, easy, simple.
The next step of tweeting “thick tweets” began with the dilemma of the subject of the tweet. What should I tweet about? What interests me? What could I tweet about that would include several layers of information?
For the first one I ended up promoting a post to another blog for a different class I am in.
And for the second tweet I looked into what was big on my Twitter feed, which ended up being related to the numerous gymnastics accounts I follow, and I tweeted about that event.
I’ll admit that part of the assignment was done in a very quick, get-it-done-right-now type of way, which I think is what our world is becoming more and more accustomed to. In this day and age, we like quick and easy fixes right on the spot, but this might make it more difficult for us to face head-on real-world problems later.
- How do you use Twitter? What do you use it for?
- Do you have a preference for either digital reading or traditional “paper” reading? Or do you like having a balance between both?