(My apologies for posting this so late; my travel got a little complicated. I will extend the deadline for this blog post; please try to do it in by Wed 8pm if you can, so that some of you contributions can spur discussion Thursday. If you cannot get it done, do it by Friday noon; that’s when the undergrad TAs will look at them in terms of crediting whether they’re done or not.)
For Thursday, you’ll be discussing Twitter with Prof. Lee Humphreys. For all its public attention recently, how many of you have actually used Twitter? So first things first, especially if you aren’t a Twitter user, familiarize yourself with Twitter and its service. Go to Twitter itself, look around. You might also read about Twitter, either the Wikipedia entry or read summaries written by your classmates from week 3 (Melanie Baevsky, Katie Duerr, Raivo Lindemann, or Jasmine Marcus) At the bottom of Twitter’s home page, there is a section listing the “Popular Topics by the Minute, Day, and Week.” Choose one that interests you and see what people are saying.
Now, this week you should write TWO blog posts. In the first one, I want you to reflect on Twitter as a communication technology. First, take a look at that list of “Popular Topics.” What do you notice? What does this set of terms say about the public discourse that Twitter currently plays host to? Then, choose from that list a term that is in some ways political, and click to see what people are talking about. What kind of political discourse is this? What if Twitter were to become an (even more?) important element of U.S. political discourse? What is your reaction to the 140 character limit — is it a limit that produces creative solutions, or a limit that is just limiting?
Then, write a second blog post, where you comment on Twitter as a form of new media with social implications — in no more than 140 characters (that includes spaces and punctuation. It does not have to include the title, tags and categories, etc.)