The Creeper from Scooby-Doo
Have you ever had that feeling that you are being watched or followed by someone or something? If you have you are not the only one. Lots of people have and it is a concept that has been built into many scary movies; for example the clip below from The Grudge.
I know I have definitely had this feeling before. It is far from the most comfortable situation to be in sometimes. It can make your hands sweaty, raise your heart rate, and just flat out raise your fear level.
Nowadays, the more followers you have the better for many people across the globe. But these kind of followers are different than ‘The Creeper’ from Scooby-Doo or that little girl who was scaring that woman in The Grudge. These are Twitter followers.Twitter is a social networking site that was launched in 2006. Twitter posts, aka ‘tweets’, consist of 140 characters are almost like an online ‘SMS Text Message’ that is sent out to your followers. You get these followers by tweeting interesting things to attract people so they want to keep coming back, and of course you telling your friends to follow you on too.
When Twitter first came out it was ridiculed by the majority of the population as a sort of mini diary where people just said things like “I just ate breakfast” or “I had a good day today!”
But as time has gone on many people and companies have joined the Twitter bandwagon. It is an amazingly easy tool to use to get your name or brand out to the public. It can and has been used as a connection tool for companies or people to reach their consumers or fans. It has also been used as a podium Public Relations; such as trying to put out a companies own stance without going through traditional media.Twitter is real time, which helps make it so enticing for everyday people as well. That transversely leads to more companies and celebrities wanting to go there as well. These more well known people rack up followers and many interact with their fans.
Because of these qualities Twitter appears to have a long life span ahead of itself. MySpace has slowly been crippled by the likes of Facebook; and now Twitter as well. Facebook has gotten a new challenger called Google+ which has just recently opened its Beta version out to everyone, instead of just invitation like it was for a few months. Twitter has yet to get a similar competitor other than those other social network sites, which really aren’t that similar to Twitter.
For instance companies or people might have created a fan page of themselves on Facebook, but rarely do they interact with their fans or consumers on them. Many will just post an update about an upcoming event and after that all the comments are from consumers/fans. On Twitter they post these things as well, but then they interact with people who mention them much more frequently than they do on Facebook. To a point it is almost as if you are texting a celebrity on your phone when they answer a tweet from you. Obviously you are probably not going to have a celebrity’s phone number so this is basically as close as many can get to their chosen celebrity, therefore it can get exciting to some.
Celebrities are even feeling pressured like they need to tweet. For example in a short article about Reba McEntire August 29, 2011 from Nashville.com:
Learning to navigate the waters with technology has been interesting for Reba because she says, “Back a long time ago you were like ‘oh let’s not get over-saturated. Let’s not over-saturate the public with all the stuff that’s going on. Be a little mysterious.’ And now, I mean, you’re telling people when you’re going to brush your teeth. And now, it’s like totally different in the mindset, and I don’t think the fans can get enough information.” She admits it can be a little tricky figuring out just how much to share, but she says, “I kind of think one or two tweets a day is pretty good. I don’t tweet 20 times a day unless I am on and I’m answering questions. But just to tell ‘em my activity throughout the day is not something that I feel that they’re interested in.”
Reba McEntire (Picture From CMT.com)
That might just be about one single music artist, but the concept translates to many more people and organizations. Twitter is a fun and safe way this conversation can occur too. Twitter users can block others, for instance if Reba didn’t like something a user said she can block them so she does not have to see it. Like previously stated it is almost like texting a celebrity. The celebrity or organization gets to choose what they want to answer and how so. Some are more private than others, it is all about each of their own personalities and/or agendas. The phone number and other personal information is kept as private as the user chooses.ESPN has even felt the pressures to tweet with the introduction of the show SportsNation
that usually airs on ESPN2 around the 4pm or 5pm time block. About 60% of the show’s content is said to be generated by the fans. This is done mainly through ESPN.com polls, Twitter, and Facebook.
Twitter can also be used in classrooms in a very efficient and cool away like this video below:
Twitter has become widely used in the news room now as well. For instance here are 10 ways journalists can use Twitter
according to Poynter:
- Get stakeholders to see your story.
- Start a conversation.
- Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the reporting process.
- Keep up with sources, find ideas.
- Find & capture reaction.
- Find local sources.
- Dig up the past.
- Help your audience keep track of an ongoing story.
- Turn investigations into collaborative storytelling efforts.
- Build your credibility.
Twitter is still of course a free service that many have yet have not figured out how to use and turn a profit. Slowly that appears to be changing though. Obviously you are not making money for creating a tweet. It is more about the information you put in a tweet. Twitter for me and many other users is a way of staying informed on the news for the most part. Since Twitter only consists of 140 characters each tweet you cannot tell a whole story via a single tweet. Tweets can however bring traffic to your web site where you do make money.A link on Twitter, therefore on a news story such as when CNN reports in breaking news, forces people to go to their site to find out the whole story, instead of just getting the jest of it. For example I am not going to check out CNN.com or watch CNN very often unless I hear of something happening that I would want to see. And how may I find out something is happening you may ask? The answer would be Twitter. CNN would send out a tweet that I would see and then tune in to their coverage either on TV or on their website.
Most people use Twitter to stay informed.
Summing up Twitter is not just a social network to me and many other folks. The term micro-blogging seems to fit it much more to me, but I think it is more than that. Twitter is the ultimate Public Relation-News-Social Network Hybrid that has caught on to a point that I do not see it slowing down or stopping, especially anytime soon. It might be the the most simple looking and at first glance shallow social network of them all, but the more you learn about Twitter it just seems to become a bottomless hole of information where you can find almost anything about an event or society.