Just over 7 years ago @jack tweeted the worlds first tweet : “just setting up my twttr”. Since that first tweet from user number 3 (after @twitter and @biz) around 554,750,000 others have joined the ranks of twitter and are collectively pumping out 58 million tweets per day.
I’ve only been on twitter since 2008 – a couple of years after the worlds first tweet, (but still rightly or wrongly consider myself an early adopter). 2008 was the pre famous people uptake days. Now that was quite a phenomenon to watch, as the mainstream media first struggled to work out what it was, then embarrassingly fumbled their way through the learning curve before KPOW!, somewhere late 2008 it took off and over the next year or so, everyone jumped on it. The big networks and celebrities got behind it and the rest of the population grasped the good side of it all. The side that lets you get information first, exclusive information, from the horses mouth information.
You either get twitter, or you don’t.
Like with a lot of things, you only get out what you put in. Conversationally, I’ve found “I don’t see the point of twitter” to be a common statement (from people who typically brought up the subject of twitter themselves). Around 40% of Twitters don’t tweet but watch other people tweet. These people may have got an account, but don’t understand why they haven’t got 000s of followers from that “trying out twitter lol. follow me” tweet from last months. You’ve got to speculate to accumulate.
I think people fear the public record factor of saying something that’ll be around for ever. That’s one of the good things about twitter, content quickly gets buried. It’s the ‘most throw’ away form of internet there is. Like a modern day version of the ‘today’s news tomorrow’s chip paper’ saying but with much shorter time-frames. You can retrieve old tweets, but people don’t tend to – that’s not the point. If in doubt, tweet some more. I can understand that ‘public’ speaking doesn’t come as naturally to some people and I have to confess that the concept of ‘microblogging’ is second nature to an old school blogger like me, but think more people should give tweeting a whirl. Don’t just lurk, if in doubt, retweet.
The comparisons between facebook and twitter (and more recently google+) is often drawn. They’re the big three largely text based ‘social networks’. There’s an adage along the lines of how twitter makes one like people you’ve never met, yet facebook makes you dislike people you already know. Twitter is built for making new connections, facebook is built for bolstering existing connections. The ability to follow 000s of people and ‘keep up’ is only possible, due to the 140 character restriction of twitter. The ability to wizz through precision concision, just the headline, just the skinny, the heart of the matter from scores of people a minutes, is only possible with twitter. Facebook has it’s place, but twitter is ace.
Tweets that changed the world (and Mars)
Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!
— MarsPhoenix (@MarsPhoenix) June 20, 2008
Twitter, due to it’s uber portable, fast, accessible nature can disseminate information faster than the proverbial wildfire. Critics do have a point here – at times, the ‘Chinese Whisper’ factor can (and does) kick in, leading to stories being embellished, and twisted, told away from source and out of context. Traditional journalist types fear that twitter goes against some of the core cannons of journalism – particularly truthfulness and accuracy. Traditional journalists are either having to deal with twitter, utilise it, or get another job. Nowadays for example, if anything newsworthy is happening, it usually breaks first on twitter (with TV, news websites and Radio a close but not that close second). The advantage is that it’s usually easy to find first hand information. The disadvantage is that you can’t always trust it. Recent example of where I personally followed a ‘big story’ break, was the recent Boston bombings aftermath – I was reading tweets from people actually on the streets. I was getting the emotion, the insight and real time reportage – everything I was reading and seeing, was sadly true.
It’s here to stay
Conceptually the concept of twitter is a simple one – a river of information of who’s content you choose and contribute to. There was a time, not too long ago when twitter didn’t exist and then (like I said earlier) KPOW! a global mainstream phenomenon that’s rivaling the media formats that have been with us eons. What gets me is – what on earth is coming up next? What will KPOW the world like twitter, et al have done over the last 10 years? eh?
OOH – by the way – follow me on twitter, there’s a good egg.