8 Bits of Tech: Twitter
When it comes to social media sites, Twitter is in a class of its own. It’s the kind of site that will excite your sociology professor more than Marx himself, and force a complete revamp of any school’s marketing curriculum. For those who have yet to experience the phenomenon that is slowly changing the way we think about the world, Twitter is unique because its modus operandi forces businesses, individuals and web-rats once known as bloggers to keep what they share super brief. By making the users condense everything in to posts of 140 characters or fewer, Twitter has revolutionized the way in which businesses advertise, celebrities communicate with fans and friends keep up with each other’s lives. To many, the idea of restricting self-expression to the length of a standard, old-fashioned (non-BBM) text message sounds restrictive and unappealing. Yet, the world has gladly agreed to live and interact in truncated bits of thought and hyperlink – a worldwide adoption that has changed human communication forever. Perhaps it is precisely these length restrictions that force users to carefully craft their tweets to attract attention of an audience or gain respect from current followers. Perhaps Twitter-specific institutions like trending topics, retweets and hashtags (#theseGuys #fornontweeters) bring out the best in our communicative potential by setting up a new set of rules that requires us to rely on creativity and resourcefulness. Whatever it is, it’s clear that Twitter has revolutionized how we share information, learn new things and connect with the world around us.
Thanks to Twitter, you no longer need to feel insufficient when you are too lazy to plow through an entire article – that’s the norm. You no longer need to harass various deal sites to find a sale on iPhones – they’ll show up in your feed. It is no longer a surprise when someone shares that they just brushed their teeth with the entire world – everyone’s doing it. These Twitter-invoked social trends are the kind of thing that will give your grandmother a headache. And the truth is, she’s right. After all, who needs the constant, restricted and real time updates of Twitter when you have Facebook and texting? Why does anyone care to hear what their favorite celebrities are doing every five minutes? Who has time for the fast-paced world of Twitter when I am so preoccupied with school work, Torah study, extracurricular involvements and my old-fashioned face-to-face friends? Plus, Twitter seems almost unhealthy. Tweeting can get addictive and cheapen the value of real friendship and effective communication. So what if it’s revolutionizing human communications on a global level? For your average YU student, Twitter seems like a massive waste of time, or at the very least a useless addiction.
I myself had similar thoughts this past summer. When an internship requested I use Twitter for work, I decided it was time to take advantage of the social media tool that everyone is…. Tweeting about. At the end of eight weeks, I realized that Twitter is not just a great way of stalking Justin Beiber and the Maccabeats. Therefore, I have compiled a list of eight things for which your average Yossi can and should begin using Twitter.
1. get links to articles of interest from your favorite news source, magazine or blogger just seconds after they are published! #beIntheKnow
2. use Twitter 2find a job or summer internship; follow companies’ HR departments+ppl that list job availabilities as they open, b 1st 2 apply
3. share funny thoughts, inspirational quotes and inside jokes @yourFriends. spice it up with a #IronicandFunnyHashTag #orNot
4. sick of checking that blog you follow for this week’s dvar torah? want to know all the hock and controversy? follow people like @GilStudent and crew
5. get updates on traffic, subway delays and inclement weather that will affect your travel accurate to the minute
6. understand popular opinions and keep up with hot topics of discussion by following the things “trending” locally, nationally and worldwide
7. save on airfare, clothing and more when companies and stores announce limited-time-only sales via Twitter #ApennySavedisapennyearned
8. track what’s happening live at your favorite team’s sports game by searching the appropriate hashtags #YoucanalmostwatchtheYanksduringSeder