I’ve had Twitter for over a year and have a grand total of 81 “tweets.” Fifty of those are less then 2 months old. When I first enquired to a friend 12 months ago, “What is Twitter?” I was told that “It’s like Facebook, but just your status.” My friend twit the bed.
Clever wordplay aside, I never really jumped into the twitterverse until I got a smartphone about two months ago. Because I pride myself on being human, I did not get an iPhone but instead went to the new Windows phone. (Right now, it’s like having the coolest Beta-Max on the block.) It’s a new platform so it doesn’t have a bajillion apps, but it did have Twitter. After a few tries, I’ve realized that it is a bit more then a “Facebook status.” So here is a rundown of my top 5 Twitter “AH-HA!” moments.
#5. BAM! “News” less then 4 seconds old
So I was sitting in a waiting room and the football Pro-bowl game was on. I looked away from the television for a half second and when I turned back I saw police on the field and a few players were laying on the sidelines laughing to death. ‘What happened?” I asked. Being in a waiting room allows you plenty of time to pursue the inane so I got out my smartphone, logged into twitter and searched “Pro-Bowl” within seconds I learned that an attempted streaker ran onto the field. The fan managed to get off his shirt but couldn’t get off his pants because he was too busy running. He tripped on his pant legs and security got him. Players found this hilarious,but the networks won’t show such fanatic behaviour because they fear it just encourages it. So thanks to twitter I was all caught up on something that probably wouldn’t have even made SportCenter the next morning.
#4. I ruined your punchline!
I’m a guy, and like a lot of guys I surround myself with, well, other guys. So when one of my dumb buddies texted me what was obviously a set up for a stupid joke, I punched the joke’s opener into Twitters search and was instantly gratified with an ungratifying punchline which I then sent back to him, seemingly all-knowingly. I culled the collective consciousness of the globe, to ruin a punchline. Not the most productive use of Twitter, but it does go to show how quickly we can gather an answer, no matter the perceived relevance of the question.
#3. A direct line to my heroes
I have an unhealthy relationship with some artists and authors that have no idea I exist. But hey, that doesn’t stop them from sending me updates on how their day is going. Thanks too Twitter, I am now listening to some of Matthew Goods music that he rerecorded with a simple acoustic guitar for a website that I never knew existed a few days back. http://soundcloud.com/matthew-good
#2. You don’t need this part
So point number two is somewhat in the same vein of number three, but it’s different I swear! So I added 50 Cent (A rapper who owns a computers makes funky music.) 50 Cent, why not, he was relevant ten years ago and it might be fun getting a perceptive that is the polar opposite of myself. But when someone tweets literally 30 times in the span of 12 minutes your twitter news feed tunrs into 50’s inner monolouge, which would be interesting if it wasn’t so disgusting. 50 Cent, click, unfollow! This trimming of the fat is really necessary to make twitter really sing for you individually. Otherwise you can get a ton of completely useless information.
*As an aside, Mr. Cent bought a ton of pennystocks and then told his fans on twitter to do the same, which in turn upped his stocks value and made him 6 million dollars richer. Damn,damn,damn,damn!
#1. Fix my problem!
I have a problem with my xbox, it is not streaming my movies from my computer today, what gives?! So do I call 1-800-4MY-XBOX? Sure, if I want to go through an automated system before MAYBE talking to a real person. But I simply twittered my issue @xboxsupport and within a 2 minutes a real person twittered me back and worked with me to solved my problem. In Real-Time!!! My mind was really blown here, as we tried things back and forth, other random people online just happened upon my conversation with tech support and offered their opinions. A total of 5 of us figured out the issue in a grand total of 12 minute of my original tweet. The process couldn’t have been quicker if 5 of us had physically been in my living room!
Now these 5 examples my not be the exact context that we have been discussing in class, but the underlying values of this tool are there. The fact is that twitter organizes and makes available and accessible the thoughts of a population. Like anything, its value will be realized by those that put into it what they expect to get back. Sure, it really can be a simplification of the Facebook status, but when placed into the right hands Twitter can be an extremely powerful tool used to extract the most focused points from a civilizations consciousness as they develop. Science-fiction, meet Science-fact. I hope they get along.