Welcome to the world of Twitter
TBO.comFirst there was Myspace. Then came Facebook. Now a new social media site controls the web, and all of its dominance has been achieved with 140 characters or less.
Published: January 9, 2013
Published: January 9, 2013
Twitter is one of the most popular social media websites in the world and is definitely the one most preferred by my friends and teenagers my age everywhere. Twitter is essentially a network of members in which one posts their thoughts and activities and follows other members to see their posts. These posts — tweets — can be reposted or listed as favorite. Each post must be 140 characters or less and can include pictures or links to other websites. Tweets can mention other people, which alert those mentioned.
As of right now, I follow 307 people, I am followed by 276, and I have posted 5,252 tweets. My tweets mostly consist of witty jokes I hear, memorable lyrics, analysis of sports events, and conversations with my friends. A good number of my tweets are also reposted (retweeted) tweets from celebrities. One main reason Twitter has taken off so quickly is how much public figures have embraced it.
Everyone from movie stars to athletes to politicians use Twitter to more directly reach their fans and constituents. Twitter is the easiest way to stay in the loop with celebrities because you can read their personal posts instead of articles written about them.
During the 2012 presidential election, I followed both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Each shared platform specifics, highlights of speeches, and ways to get involved with his campaign. It's obvious that American politics are changing, but it is never more evident than when major news channels analyze trends on Twitter to predict election outcomes. Pundits can count how many times a phrase or name is mentioned and also track the use of hashtags to follow these trends.
A hashtag is a sort of tag inserted into a tweet to group it with other tweets about the same topic. For example, a tweet about this weekend's NFL playoff games might include #GoBroncos. This redirects it to a list of tweets all written by Bronco fans. Hashtags allow users to find tweets on any number of topics and also open major marketing opportunities. TV shows and movies encourage their viewers to use certain hashtags in order to increase exposure to their product.
Like most, I was a little skeptical about joining Twitter. When I finally did, it wasn't for my own use, but for a little project I had been planning. My then-girlfriend Sydney's birthday was coming up and I had no idea what to get her. I'd thought about everything from clothes to jewelry. Finally I decided to make a Twitter account and try to reach out to a few of her favorite celebrities. I created an account (@jared_lang) and wasted no time writing a few posts. They were addressed to people like Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, even Justin Bieber. I explained my situation and asked if they could maybe call to wish Sydney a happy birthday. I posted a few requests a day for about a week and unfortunately got no replies.
I realized that my plan might have been a bit lofty, but that may be the draw of Twitter. It gives users the opportunity, no matter how small, to get noticed by their favorite star and allows interactions between the famous and everyday people. Not everyone gets to meet their idols, but maybe following them on Twitter is the next best thing.