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Friday, 18 November 2011

The Power of Twitter - Part 2

Flickr: Baddog_
Twitter continues to grow not just as a social network where you can speak to friends and colleagues, but as a global phenomenon where people from across the world can connect and discuss issues that affect us all.

It’s now a primary news source as I found out when the BBC reported today that ‘Associated Press has reprimanded some of its journalists for breaking news on Twitter before posting it on the wires.’ (source – BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15772243)

Twitter is now a place to go for news, celebrity gossip, film reviews, music reviews and just the latest ‘must knows’ across the web.

The number of users continues to grow at a pretty fast pace. After meeting people for the first time, you then feel like you can add them as a ‘friend’ on Facebook. With Twitter, you can comfortably follow someone without ever meeting them, and you most likely never will. Twitter is about building a connection through your computer screen, and if that connection doesn’t come, it just takes one click for them to disappear from your life.

Twitter has recently tried to take similar ideas to Facebook, and trying to give it even more of a 'community feel'. Meaning that their new 'activity' tab allows you to see who people are now following, as well as what they have favourited and retweeted. You can continue to keep up to date with the people you follow in every way. But that's not what Twitter is for, and I doubt it ever will be. Most people will stick to Facebook if they want to continue tracking all aspects of their friends lives.

One difficult now, is for people to keep a balance with the number of people they decide to follow. You can either follow hundreds of people, in which case you get a very lively twitter feed with constant updates(usually mutliple tweets a minute) and you get a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints. The downside being that you perhaps recieve too many tweets, and it's hard to keep track or establish a connection with a select few. One way around this can be the use of twitters 'list' feature which allows you to split your favourite 'tweeters' into seperate feeds to you can track them more easily. But even this can be hard to manage, depending on how many people you intend on following.

Alternatively, you can follower a smaller amount of people(usually around 100 or less). Which means you get less updates (maybe one tweet every 1 or 2 minutes during the day), but it's a lot more manageable. It also means that you can have easier conversations with the people you follow because you can quickly learn what they like and what theri opinions are, therefore you know if the chat is going to go well or not. This also means you have created your own personal community, arguably what Twitter is for.
But the downside to this is the limits of diverse opinion, your only getting a small sample of the millions and millions that use twitter everyday. And your Twitter may have slow days where you read hardly anything interesting. You may also find that you could recieve news slower. Obviously the more you follow, the better chances of seeing the latest news quicker.

What Twitter can do

The Prince of Wales' private office had created a Twitter account so that it could announce the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

After this tweet, @Leighfazzina was saved after getting lost in a 300-acre forest, and then crashing her bike while trying to complete a mini-triathlon. Unable to walk, she tried to call somebody, but couldn't get a connection, fortunately she was able to tweet for help. And with over 1,000 followers, atleast half a dozen called for her aid. Within minutes of her sending the tweet, an ambulance was on its way.
Generally, in areas such as large parks, where signal isn't usually very good, it's not unusual for people to be able to send instant messages or 140-character tweets when they can't make phonecalls.

To read 'The Power of Twitter - Part 1' click here.


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