I was sitting in my Piano class as a sophomore in high school when I made my first Twitter account. I’m not sure exactly how I heard about this new social media phenomenon, but the idea of sending short little updates to the entire world was appealing. I tweeted my classmates as I was sitting across from them, and laughed at the senselessness of it all, but it kept me amused.
In her article, Atwood in the Twittersphere, Margaret Atwood poses an interesting question, asking “So what’s it all about, this Twitter? Is it signaling, like telegraphs? Is it Zen poetry?” (Atwood). I don’t even think that’s the beginning of explaining what this new craze is. From what I’ve seen over the past 4 years, Twitter provides an outlet to those who wish to speak their mind. I’ve come across tons of different kinds of accounts. Some actually use it professionally, like musicians, athletes, and professors. Others use it just to express their thoughts and to communicate with their friends. My personal favorite kind of accounts are ones that parody other things, such as TV characters.
As I continued to read Margaret Atwood’s article, she stated that someone sent her a tweet saying that “I love it when old ladies blog” (Atwood). I sat here and tried to picture this little old woman behind a laptop, skimming through the thoughts in her head to create a tweet. It just goes to show you how many different kinds of people are able to interact and participate in the Twittersphere or Twitterverse. No matter what coined term you use, this is a different kind of social media outlet that anyone can use. I’ve noticed that Twitter is mostly used by teenagers, celebrities, and super-fans of celebrities, but it’s nice to see the occasional outsider.
Now that I’ve sat here and rambled on about the use of Twitter who uses it, I’m finally going to get the point that I’ve been trying to make about permanence. Earlier I said that most Twitter users speak their mind and use this website to get all of their thoughts out. This is readable to anyone with an Internet connection. Tweets are basically open letters to the world. Once somebody reads your tweet, that’s it. It’s out there. Anyone can retweet it, quote you, save it on their phone or computers, take a picture of it, or send it along to someone else through different social media. Even if you decide to erase your tweet, it’s still there. Everything on the Internet has some kind of permanence.
So how does this affect an individual? You can’t take back what you say. With a website like this, which is accessible to anyone, everyone must be careful with what they say. We have the right to speak freely, but at the same time, this can be a dangerous tool. Those little thoughts that you Tweet might seem harmless, but they will always be there and may come back to haunt you one day. In short, watch what you say.
- http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/mar/29/atwood-in-the-twittersphere/(Margaret Atwood)
- http://www.twitter.com/hopevista (This is where I speak my mind on occasion)
- http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=4756 (The Twitter Explosion)