By Kate Mazza, Julia Mulry, Regina McCormick
Twitter has enhanced the senses of vision and hearing. It has increased the pace of how people encode information. It has also quickened the reception of news regarding current events, celebrities, and other public figures. Rather than picking up a newspaper, Twitter allows people to easily access information in a matter of moments by scrolling through their phone. It has also changed outdated media platforms including MySpace, Tumblr, and even Facebook. It allows users to post short, concise statuses, eliminating the need for long updates and statuses as seen on media such as Facebook. It is used by average social media goers, celebrities, political figures, and businesses. It allows marketers and advertisers to put out information in easily noticeable and simple messages. Twitter has ultimately contributed to the way today’s culture is much more quick-paced and impatient. Along with smartphones, Twitter has become a form of social media which allows users to access information, news, entertainment, and personal information instantaneously.
Before this major social media platform became worth more than $5 billion, it began as the smaller platform “Twttr”. The idea behind Twttr was to send a text to one number that would be broadcasted for all of your friends to see. Twttr was launched in February of 2006. Later the name would become Twitter due to co-founder Noah Glass. The platform was launched in July 2006 by co-founders Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. In 2007, the first pound symbol or hashtag was used to indicate specific groups. Twitter has rapidly spread among social media users, along with influencing the way breaking news is delivered. This was highlighted for one of the first times when a US airline flight crashed in the Hudson River. Twitter presenting this breaking news highlighted the influence it has made on the media and news as well. Twitter has a total of about 310M monthly active users. 24.6% of verified accounts are made by journalists, and 83% of the world’s leaders have Twitter accounts. 65.8% of US large companies use Twitter for marketing. Twitter is a medium which instantaneously allows users to present information or news over a phone or laptop, and it influences the media, news, celebrities, and the everyday social media user.
Twitter has many negative and positive impacts on todays society including publicly and democratically. There are 3 articles that prove this. In this article, “The age of twitter: Donald J. Trump and the politics of debasement”, it explores the changing character of public life on the age of twitter. Oltt uses the ‘medium theory’, which is a perspective that suggests every communication technology has features that explain how the users of the medium process information and make sense of the world. Oltt argues that twitter is negative because it protests against others through impulse. Twitter is also negative because of the short character count that it has. It structurally “disallows” the communication of important messages that can be spread by using twitter. I believe that twitter is beneficial towards the current events that are happening today but can be used in a negative way as well, to start protests. Oltt also claims that by twitter promoting clever or smart ideas, it reshapes human cognition by shortening our attention span. Twitter also, according to Oltt, demand simplicity, promotes impulsivity and fosters incivility.
The second article, “Twitter Activism and youth in South Africa: the case of #Rhodesmustfall” by Tanja Bosch, explains how a university used twitter in order to help spread word of an important event that was taking place in the town. Rhodes must fall, or known as RMF, took place at the University of Cape Town and compromised student-led protests, which campaigned to remove the statue of British Colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. Protestors argued that the statue promoted racism and a culture of exclusion, particularly for black students. Through this campaign, twitter served as a major center for the youth participation, reflecting the political practices and shaping the public debate by setting mainstream news agendas. This campaign analyzed that social media discussions should not be viewed as detached from more traditional media platforms. This article argues that the youth is using more social networking websites, like Twitter, to develop a new biography of citizens, also known as activism. Also twitter allows the youth to interact with more broader socio-political issues.
The last article, by Derrick L. Coburn “From Networked Nominee to Networked Nation: Examining the Impact of Web 2.0 and Social Media on Political Participation and Civic Engagement in the 2008 Obama Campaign”, explores the use of the web and social media in 2008 during the Obama campaign. Qualitative data was collected from a few media sources, including twitter, and public information. The Obama campaign utilized these resources/media outlets and created an organization that motivated 3.1 million individual contributors and mobilized a movement of more than 5 million volunteers. Through twitter, the Obama campaign utilized the public and raised money to mobilize the ground game, which enhanced political participation by getting out the vote. Twitter served as a poll and basically an Ad toward the Obama campaign. This is a benefit because it makes political news more accessible for the youth, making them more informed of what is going on in our country and around the world.
Twitter is a medium that allows people to send out condensed messages through words, pictures, videos, and any other type of compatible media source. However, medium bias, as stated in the Medium Theory article, occurs within people’s personal viewpoints being projected out to masses. In instances featuring celebrities or people of public interest, their ideas can be reached by many. While this is not necessarily a negative aspect of Twitter, it can allow for bias in what is being released. However, Twitter also enables senses, including visual and auditory, in what it offers. Through this capability, it has replaced certain aspects of Facebook due to condensed posts and trending topics. Moreover, Twitter has essentially taken away the need for newspapers, as well. Because of the accessible website and app, news is quickly at the hands of any user. Similarly, having notifications turned on will allow Twitter to alert one’s phone with any breaking news. Twitter is constantly growing and expanding, obtaining more and more users daily. With this strong of a following, it is incredibly unlikely for Twitter to disappear anytime soon. If anything, it will continue to expand, eventually becoming the most prominent and dominating form of social media due to the vast array of options for releasing thoughts and ideas all at the tip of one’s fingers.