The more I hear people talk about Twitter, the more I realize that they don’t really understand what its purpose is. I was excited to hear Professor Humphreys’ lecture about the social networking device but, somewhere around the 20 minute mark, I realized that even she didn’t really understand what Twitter’s purpose was. Twitter isn’t about keeping a diary like women did in the 1800′s, it’s not meant to link us the way that Facebook does, and wasn’t created for people to talk about what they had for breakfast… per say. I bring up breakfast because it’s the default example that folks who fail to comprehend the wonders of Twitter throw around.
So, what is the purpose of Twitter? Yes, Twitter is a public discourse and that’s an integral aspect of the website but to me Twitter is more about networking than anything else. Unlike Facebook where my friends are composed of people that I know fairly well, I know very few of my 200 some odd followers on Twitter. This is partially why I prefer Twitter, because it offers me the chance to extend my brand. Through Twitter I’ve been offered the chance to speak with lots of new people. Just this past week, I got the chance to speak with Life Unexpected creator Liz Tigelaar while I was watching her show on The CW. I found out that she attended Ithaca College and has strong ties to the area, to me discourse like this defines Twitter.
There are people on Twitter who treat it like a Facebook status update and I suppose that’s fine, but they won’t grow their follower count. If 14 year old girls want to talk about Justin Beiber with other like minded individuals, good for them. If people want to show their enthusiasm over American Idol contestant Andrew Garcia, good for him. Twitter offers the opportunity to do that. Right now “Health Care Summit” which, like Beiber, I would never talk about is trending. I understand why other people might want to talk about it over Twitter, they want to reinforce their own beliefs and honestly that doesn’t bother me. Issues like this also illustrate why the character limit is so important, because it prevents people from going off on rants. If you want to rant about this or that, get a blog! Twitter isn’t really about that… unless you’re director Kevin Smith.
In summation, I might be a Twitter addict but god dammit I love Twitter! So, if you feel inclined to follow me that’s cool, with every new follower gained I feel a personal sense of validation.
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