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Social Media Assignment B: Keiran Dole (3848105)


Twitter

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media platforms on the internet today, amassing 500 million active users since its creation in 2006. This predominantly one-way form of social media communication involves users creating accounts to which they ‘tweet’ (send short messages) to their own profiles. Other uses move to ‘follow’ users and can then see these tweets. It has been described as “the SMS of the Internet” (Leslie, 2009). Twitter users can only send 140 characters at once in their tweets, therefore restricting the message to be short and precise. This differentiates twitter from other social media platforms where content isn’t restricted and the user can decide how much is too much. Twitter is becoming more and more locally popular, especially in Australia, it is an interesting platform to investigate.


Using twitter requires some knowledge of twitter specific content, there are many ‘twitter for beginners’ tutorials, websites, videos and documents to show the user how to go about their twitter experience.
e.g. http://mashable.com/2012/06/05/twitter-for-beginners/

Some examples of some language you would see on your ‘twitter feed’ or ‘profile page’;

  • Tweet: A 140-character message.
  • Retweet (RT) Re-sharing or giving credit to someone else’s tweet.
  • Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It’s comprised of updates from users you follow.
  • Handle: Your username.
  • Mention (@): A way to reference another user by his username in a tweet (e.g. @mashable). Users are notified when @mentioned. It’s a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.
  • Direct Message (DM): A private, 140-character message between two people. You may only DM a user who follows you.
  • Hashtag (#): A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #AmericanIdol, #Obama). A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow.

(Smith, 2012)

Twitter involves 4 distinct sections that users can navigate around, no more, no less. They are the Home (feed), Connect (notification centre), Discover (activity) & Me (profile).

Home

Connect

Discover

Me

Twitter is a free microblogging service founded by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone. Since its founding, Twitter has grown into a social media juggernaut, and popularity on the service is often used as a benchmark of influence. Companies have also used the service as a way to engage with their customers – offering promotions and other specials. Twitter is a real time way to broadcast breaking news. (Mashable 2012)


Twitters importance and growth in the social media sphere is no doubt large, this some say, is credited to its easy to use interface and the concept.
Let’s have a look at what Twitter is today and how it came about.

Twitter, or ‘Twittr’ as it was named originally, was launched in march 2006, it was then re-launched under a different name of ‘Twitter’ by founders Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone. The company is a privately listed company that isn’t on the stock exchange, unlike its major counterparts Facebook. It is largerly based in the USA (LA, California) and operates out of these offices.

Twitters origins lie in its short content format, its founders had a brainstorming session one day, looking to create a program that used SMS messages that could be sent to a small group. The founders and american podcasting company Odeo (who backed the project to success) worked to create this early version of twitter with Dorsey posting the first every tweet the world has seen.

Sketch of ‘twittr’ idea. 

Twitters start of their rise to domination began with the creators taking their idea to a conference, in which they cleverly set up TV screens with users from the conferences tweets, intriguing all at the conference. This type of technology was perfect for others to watch others ‘progress’. Unlike the other social media platforms on the market, twitter was non invasive and a user could be easily ‘watched’ without direct communication. This would seek to benefit much of the western world through our voyeuristic nature.

Shortly after this point, Twitter began to grow to the masses. with 500 million active users, 340 million tweets daily and 1.6 billion search queries each day its no wonder twitter has moved into the top 10 most visited websites on the internet.

It has become so popular around the world that Chang (2010) propose that “nearly everyone on Twitter is just five steps away from each other”

Today, Twitter is having the biggest impact on the ways how media uses to work and especially
on the news cycle, by being the first media to break news quite often, elaborate stories
that have appeared in boring and traditional formats and in offering a forum to discuss traditional news outlets coverage.
(Ahmed, 2011)

This small SMS only intended service now has the capability to break important worldwide news before the major institutions do. More importantly, users can trust the source that is delivering the information through twitters verification scheme. This is a function not used on any of the other social media platforms which in turn act as a ‘wiki’ whenever news surfaces. We cannot be sure where this information is coming from or who is delivering it, with twitter verified followers, we can know for sure.

Twitter has evolved over time to suit the needs of its user, its apple certified applications are one of the most downloaded from the app store with the mobile twitter app being the may the majority of twitter users interact with the platform.

iPhone interface example

It isn’t all serious business on twitter, with the majority of top followed people on twitter, being celebrities.

Top followers

Millions of users are hounding on the every keystroke of the above celebrities, allowing for mass communication between them and their fans. Perfect for the western world, infatuated with entertainment and up-to-the-date information. The video below puts our excessive twitter use into perspective…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTN9We8unmU – Twitter in real life.

Whereas twitter is perfect for the aforementioned celebrities to interract with people, they dont have ‘comments’ or any visible feedback that fans or other users post on their material (like that of tumblr, instagram, facebook), there are still situations where these high demand celebrities can be ‘trolled’. Although it is minimal. My favourite person on twitter, Ricky Gervais, shows how he deals with them…

This fantastically easy, information/recreation source was created with the intention of what it is used for today, short messaging service amongst people you know of. It works well and rarely faults and is a great one-way social media communication for those more known people and a great way for the public to get in contact with those people discreetly. For the general public user group to communicate it is easy to share media and simple messages. This platform will only grow.

That concludes my overview of Twitter.

References:

D’Monte, Leslie 2009. Swine Flu’s Tweet Tweet Causes Online FlutterBusiness Standard. viewed October 12, 2012.

Smith, B 2012, The Beginerrs guide to twitter, Mashable, viewed 11th October 2012, < http://mashable.com/2011/07/05/twitter-7-billion/>

Freebase 2012, Metaweb, viewed October 8th 2012, < http://www.freebase.com/view/en/twitter>

Mashable 2012, Mashable Inc, viewed 4th October 2012, < http://mashable.com/tag/twitter/>

Kessier, S 2011, Twitter Now Valued at $7 Billion [REPORT], Mashable, viewed 11th October 2012, < http://mashable.com/2011/07/05/twitter-7-billion/>

Chang, A 2010, Six Degrees of Separation, Twitter Style, Sysomos Inc., viewed October 4 2012, < http://www.sysomos.com/insidetwitter/sixdegrees/>

Ahmed, W 2011, Armed with Twitter: Weapon of Anarchy , Arabian Gazette 2012,viewed October 4 2012, < http://arabiangazette.com/armed-twitter-weapon-anarchy/>

Vidyarthi, N 2012, 12 Steps to Creating a Successful Twitter Chat, Social Times, viewed 4th October 2012, < http://socialtimes.com/creating-a-successful-twitter-chat_b87662&gt;

Keiran Dole
3848105

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