Twitter is a free social networking and communication technology that allows users to post a message of up to 140 characters long to their specified social circle. According to the Twitter team, their goal is to deliver to people the best, freshest, and most relevant information possible. With Twitter becoming more mainstream, we see trends where newspapers and television reporters are no longer the first means through which we hear breaking news. Personally, I can’t quantify the benefit from finding about a news story now versus 2 hours later. Hence I was never really attracted by Twitter’s service. In fact, I can see the potential danger when a large group of people conspire to post something false, and then all of a sudden (thanks to Twitter) everyone is talking about something that is false.
I have only posted one tweet on Twitter about half a year ago when I was bored while on vacation in China. I was also curious what social networking sites the Chinese government did ban, and which ones it didn’t, so I checked out Twitter and made an account out of whim. I didn’t log in again until a month ago. I was surprised to see an alert that said my account has been suspended due to suspicious activity. It mades me wonder what kind of suspicious activity they’re referring to when I haven’t even been active for the past 6 months. Nevertheless, this seems to illustrate that Twitter monitors accounts pretty closely, probably as a way of protecting users from being spammed or scammed. This at least is respectable.
After browsing around Twitter for a bit I noticed the @verified/olympians. At first I was still a little suspicious of these accounts, but after I read some of the tweets and saw the U.S. Olympians cheering each other on, I realized that it really could be the real athletes behind these tweets. I saw one of Apolo Ohno’s tweets and thought that it could be encouraging and inspiring to his fans:
‘Gdmorning! Try this: replace every negative thought w/ a positive 1, approach today w/ a determined attitude & b happy about the challenge.about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck ‘
I guess if used correctly, good things can come out of services like Twitter. In addition to being psychologically beneficial for some – an outlet for people to vent their spur-of-the-moment feelings or share their ideas, Twitter could be a place where kids who are growing up learn positive attitudes and actions from others. However, Twitter has been abused as well. Today’s popular topics on Twitter include Click, Jaebum, Health Care Summit, Andrew Garcia, and Dubai Mall. At first I thought “Click” was referring to the Adam Sandler movie, but after checking out the tweets, I realized they were all pornography-related. I guess there isn’t a best of both worlds yet. As long as there are people who find positive uses for Twitter, there will always be someone who abuses its service.