Twitter: broadcasting to the world one by one

For Shepherd’s article, to be honest, I don’t like the wording like McLuhan’s concept of “global village” is “notorious aphorism” or “textual poachers” by Jenkins is “notorious” as well. In general, the tone is too aggressive, even a little cynical. In contrary, Grossman’s article did a better job in analyzing what features of Twitter had and depicting a clear picture that Twitter functioned as an outlet in this Iranian issue.

Before this assignment, I seldom use Twitter though I have my account @piupiukitty, I haven’t realized its potential and valued it as an interesting online activity partially because the 140-character is nothing more than the status in Facebook. As a novice, that list function is fresh to me. Despite I knew members on Twitter had different groups categorized by interests, like the YouTube subscribers communities, I never joined in any. However, this time I choose three lists to add: Brand, Movie and Best-of-photography. I also follow some travel bloggers, movie reviewers and photographers. I admit that I intentionally avoid those labeled as digital social media or famous journalists in that I personally consider Twitter is a tool for leisure-time entertainment but not another learning place. My thought is somewhat in line with the point highlighted by Shepherd’s that the problem of UGC participation is “labor hours—once regulated and largely defined—spill over into the private sphere and invade leisure time” (p. 159). I agree that Twitter can be used as a platform for political interests, but it is a personal space after all, we don’t have the right to criticize that web audience pay less attention to Iran but being frenetic in regard to celebrities.

Furthermore, I don’t clearly get Shepherd’s perspective on negating the concept of global village. To make the protest in Iran available worldwide, tweets and retweets actualized and accelerated the broadcasting process, therefore people outside Iran had access to the election conflict—the intangible technology does facilitate the “citizen journalism” trend. In addition, the description “follow a certain celebrity over another would be considered democratic” (p. 157) doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, Twitter, social media and UGC do not necessarily interpreted within democratic context, but members (at least the ones I followed) in Twitter do diverse things (like leave a “happy b-day” message) much more than concentrating on celebrities and their gossips.

Grossman’s comment raises the question about verification, which means tweets could not be 100% reliable. I think this can be an explanation for why people prefer entertaining content to serious political issues on Twitter. From this perspective, Twitter is more individual than public; however, with respect to its function of broadcasting while MySpace and Facebook don’t do this, Twitter is more public, global platform than individual marketing place.


~ by luckymaggie on September 17, 2010.

6 Responses to “Twitter: broadcasting to the world one by one”

  1. What’s this “function of broadcasting” that Twitter has? I am not sure what that is. Maybe i missed out something on Twitter. Anyway, it also seems to me that the status on Twitter is the only valuable feature, whereas Facebook offers a much wider variety of useful functions. I’ve never thought Twitter’s 140-character limit is a good idea because as consumer demand becomes more diverse, the limit is nothing but unnecessary. And by the way I just googled to find out that the current Facebook status update has 420 character limit.

    • Obviously you’re not a fan of Twitter and I’m not too. The broadcasting way in my mind refers to the RTs as Twitters can retweet some news events one by one to let more people know it. I use Facebook less frequently than Renren, the social networking site in mainland China. It’s similar to Facebook and also both of them have much more fun than Twitter….

  2. I definitely agree with you on the tone of Shepard’s article. She’s pretty hostile about Twitter!
    Also, I wonder if their is more temptation to follow celebrities on Twitter and less to have serious political debate because it is so open? I think while a lot of people like sharing their opinions, few engage in that sort of debate regularly in their everyday life unprompted. This could be another factor besides the problem of verification that you stated above.

  3. After reading your post, It suddenly occurred to me that the 140-word limit promised the success of Twitter because no one bothers to read a prolonged blog post these days. Another thing I would like to comment on is your mentioning of “labour hours invade leisure time”. I think for Twitter, is probably “leisure time interferes with labour hours” due to the widely use of smartphones and other message-receiving devices. It wouldn’t take a few minutes for people to check their Twitter or facebook status when they are at work. It’s a good way to release themselves from the heavy work stress. As for the question “is Twitter a platform for democracy”, my answer is in accordance with what we’ve achieved in the class, it’s due to the people, not the technology.

  4. Comments for blog post 4

  5. Excellent post! I think you might like Twitter if you actually added 10 travel bloggers to your feed (instead of only reading them via a Twitter list). I get a lot of ideas about travel from random tweets in my regular feed.

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