For the Birds (Twitter)
The ancient Romans had Social Media in similar fashion to what we have today. The technology was limited sure, but they shared the same desire to express. One of the ways in which they shared ideas was through short messages written on walls, using shorthands and abbreviations to get a quick point across. (Standage) This is much like our modern day usage of the social media site, Twitter, where we post short ideas and messages in 140 characters or less.
Twitter has become perhaps the most diverse social media platform available. That prospect is evident to me personally in not only the content I see on my daily feed but in the tweets I post myself. The goal of Twitter’s creators is to create a real-time viewpoint of events and occurrences around the world, allowing us to connect with people that we would otherwise not have been given the opportunity to connect with, and giving everyone a fair chance to share their two cents on the same level as some of the world’s most profound individuals.
There are invisible, yet clear “circles” of users that make up infinite sub-communities of an overall user-base. I follow and represent a variety of those sub-communities. The one most prevalent to me is the community of Baseball Journalism. Interacting with this community has provided me the majority of my usage of the site and is the reason why I still use it today. It affords me the opportunity to not only keep up to the minute with the goings-on of professional Baseball, but has allowed me to respond and communicate with Baseball Writers and Major League players in ways that would be unimaginable just ten years ago. I was contacted via Twitter and got the opportunity to write an article for a Baseball blog with a following of over 20,000 users. This was somewhat of a dream come true for me, as becoming a Baseball writer was something I always would have liked to do yet has since taken a back-seat to my current career path. That opportunity fulfilled that dream for a short while. I certainly have the connectivity and immediacy of Twitter to thank for that. This aspect of Twitter ranges far beyond Baseball or any sport. I had a short conversation via Twitter with the drummer of my favorite band, Bloc Party. On that night, I was at the barricade of a Bloc Party concert with my best friend, having the time of my life. At the end of the show, the drummer came to me and handed his drumstick to me through a crowd of depserate, grasping hands, making sure I was the one on the receiving end. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet him personally, but I did thank him via Twitter.
Another huge reason why I use Twitter is the humor value. I would estimate that 20–30% of my feed is strictly joke and humor accounts. It may seem childish, but there is certainly a unique brand of humor that has been created specifically by twitter, for twitter. Much of that is due to the limitations of 140 characters and the overall culture that is understood among its user-base. Through the stress of every day life, it is refreshing that whenever I take a peek at my phone I can get a kick out of the hilarious stupidity.
Twitter is also strong (and somewhat underrated in comparison to Facebook) in the personal usage of keeping up with friends. Having numerous friends that use the site obviously increases its usefulness to me and keeps it fresh. I enjoy seeing what my friends are doing and what is important to them at that given moment. It is also a far better indicator of people’s interests than a platform such as Facebook, as favoriting and retweeting are very personalized and give you an idea of what people choose to see on the daily. Judge me as you will, but I also really get a kick out of drunk tweets and I actually wish people would do it more. Whether it be myself or my friends, it is always humorous and amusing to see what we’re blurting out to the world in an inebriated state. Twitter provides the perfect platform for that.
Obviously Twitter is not for everybody. For me, it has provided some amazing opportunities and an unmatched charm. While we have all, to some extent, agreed that Social Media has come bundled with some negative side effects, I feel that I have used Twitter to its full potential and intend to continue to do so. I’ve been hard pressed to get anywhere near the same level of enjoyment from any other Social Media platform, and find that to be a great thing. I am surely satisfied with one app to waste my time on, any more than that would be excessive.
Standage, Tom. “Chapter 2.” Writing on the Wall. N.p.: Bloomsbury, n.d. 21–47. Print.