I like Twitter

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I don’t do Facebook status’. Not more than one every 3 months in the last few years anyway. I share links I find interesting that others will hopefully do also. So in my reasoning I don’t consider them to be true Facebook status updates. As such I quite enjoy retweeting others on Twitter, but more on that later. I do however update my few Twitter followers with Facebook status worthy material (trivial meanderings) on a regular basis, why am I able to do this on one social media site and not another?

Is it because this material is more suited to the medium of Twitter? Facebook is essentially based around the distribution of photographs and the newsfeed’s current nature originally grew out of that. Perhaps it is the fact that it is not shameful to share boring life trivia on Twitter whereas there is a slight stigma towards it on Facebook, this is most likely the case for me. Perhaps that is why there is also a slight stigma towards Twitter, many non-users do refer to it as stupid and pointless.

"I hate Twitter and will express this as a Facebook status with no sense of irony."

“I hate Twitter and will express this as a Facebook status with no sense of irony.”

I think before I discuss retweeting it would be important for me to point out that I rarely follow anyone I know in person. I much prefer the musings of directors, actors, writers, media sites and parody Twitter feeds:

This is where most of my joy comes from Twitter; retweeting. It allows for the easy sharing, distribution and personalised collection of everything from links to serious academic writing to 6 second videos of cats as well as hearing celebrities day to day thoughts and philosophies. And whilst this last point may seem very trivial, some Tweets can produce not just the hilarious (ironic or otherwise) but some genuinely profound statements.

When you retweet someone you aren’t just promoting their thought but also adopting it into your own on your own personalised page. Twitter literally allows you to share statements and arguments you agree and disagree with in a far neater and more accessible way than any other social media site. Here are some of the people(s) I follow providing insights and observations into things such as;

Art:

Humour:

Satire:

News:

Politics:

Patrick Stewart:

My local music shop:

And so on. Now I know some of you want to point out that a lot of these Tweets are just links to other websites, but I’ll get to that topic later on.

Obviously there is also the feature of hashtags. Now whilst they have begin to plague Facebook, their original use in Twitter has allowed people to become a part of something larger than just what their direct followers see. You can discuss your favourite show or your least favourite film and anyone can join in. You can also become part of a movement, or if you’re like me, you find analysing all of the above and what it says about media interaction, to be the most fun. Twitter provides a large assortment of varying opinions on a single topic all in one location with complete ease. Now yes many of these opinions are either dumb or phrased in an infuriatingly combative and offensive way which is often compounded by the 140 character limit, but any mass communication system is going to suffer from the behaviour of the serially inappropriate. It doesn’t help that Twitter’s approach to dealing with reports of harassment and abuse are painfully lacklustre.

In spite of all this the 140 character limit is the key feature that separates Twitter from other sites using derivative features such as Facebook and Instagram. As some bloke once said; “Brevity is the soul of wit”

'Some bloke' even got a Doctor Who episode.

‘Some bloke’ even got a Doctor Who episode.

Only being able to express one’s view in 140 lends itself to all sorts of creative uses of language, these uses are all fascinating to anyone who isn’t a fan of prescriptivism and the linguistically orthodox. Twitter is an exciting tool to study the development of the formation of new ways of communicating as well as being an integral part of the actual process.  Twitter is encouraging the compression of language as to make complex concepts efficient (something that their ‘Vine’ product is doing similarly for film also).

Admittedly a lot of this communication is achieved through linking to web pages where language is used to its full and extensive state, but the very nature of Twitter; something that takes all of person’s disparate interests and combines them into one easy-to-use platform, is amazing. It is hard for me to imagine using the internet and accessing all the information I want/need without Twitter, it is actually also amazing that it took so long for something like Twitter to emerge on the Internet. Now yes, many of Twitter’s contemporaries can perform all the same functions these days and often with more customisation, but go at look at your FB newsfeed and then Twitter. Which is clear and easy to use? Which is a cluttered and due to its inherent nature an unavoidable mess? With 140 characters the complex and diverse become simple.

In summary; I would never have been able to see really cool cosplay like this without Twitter:

How do you feel about Twitter? Love it? Hate it? Got any reasoning to back it up? Please share it in the comments below.

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