Twitter, launched in 2006, is “an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short messages called tweets.” It is called “microblogging.” The messages are limited to 280 characters (originally 140), but they can include photos and videos and links to web sites, social media accounts, etc.
Twitter is one of the top ten websites. Twitter has 330 million active users (first quarter 2019). It is very popular among young people. 47% of teens use it; 40% of 18-29 year olds.
Twitter is one of the top ten websites. Twitter has 330 million active users (first quarter 2019). It is very popular among young people. 47% of teens use it; 40% of 18-29 year olds. In the third quarter of 2019, Twitter broadcast 96 million hours of live user-generated content.
Twitter was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone. In 2015, it was announced that Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal had become the second largest Twitter shareholder, but in 2019, Investopedia did not list him in the top three, referring, rather, to Dorsey, Williams, and Peter Fenton (“To 3 Twitter Shareholds,” Investopedia, May 6, 2019).
Twitter defines the age: shallow, immediate, impulsive, frivolous, amusing.
A user’s tweets are received only by those who subscribe to them or go online to view them.
Twitter can be used for person-to-person communication simply by means of tweets and feedbacks. Following is an explanation:
“Think of Twitter as a room full of people, all sitting in a circle. It’s a conversation. When you update your status, you are speaking to the whole group. Everyone can hear what you have to say. REPLIES - If you want to direct your comments to one specific person in the circle, but loud enough that everyone else can hear, use the ‘Reply’ function. You address the person by using their Twitter user name preceded by the @ symbol. For example: ‘@spencesmith I get my haircut at Dion’s South in downtown Franklin.’ Everyone who is following Spence and me will see the message, but I am specifically directing it to Spence. (Those who are not following both of us will not see the message.) You can also use the Reply function to refer to someone by name. For example: ‘I’m headed to dinner at Tin Angel with @gailhyatt and @meghmiller. I am looking forward to trying the new menu.’ The thing about replies is that they are ‘clickable links.’ DIRECT MESSAGING - If someone who is following me, clicks on one of the names, they will automatically go to that person’s Twitter page. This will give them the opportunity to follow that person, too. Direct Messages. Continuing with the metaphor of a conversation with a room full of people, you can also use the ‘direct message’ function. This is like whispering in one person’s ear. They can hear you, but no one else can. You are directing the message to them and only them. For example: ‘d lnobles Can you bring my Business Review notebook down to the cafeteria conference room?’ Twitter direct messages have largely replaced simple text messaging for me and many people I know” (Michael Hyatt, “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter”).
Twitter is used to broadcast information on any type of subject that people are interested in: business, finance, manufacturing, crafts, hobbies, history, technology, science, space, humor, music, religion, philosophy, etc.
There are endless educational, interesting, and wholesome recreational accounts, such as @TEDtalks, @mittr_insights (MIT Tech Review), @ThatsHistory, @dayinhistory, @IAM_Shakespeare (tweets the complete works of Shakespeare, line by line), @BrilliantAds, @MerriamWebster, @NASA, @PreschoolGems, @TweetsOfOld, @NatGeoPhotos, @BabyAnimal, @BEAUTIFULPICS, @EarthPicturz @dscovr_epic (earth photos from NASA’s DSCOVR satellite).
(We aren’t recommending these Twitter accounts, merely mentioning them as examples of what is out there.)
Twitter is used by a myriad of people to document their daily lives for whoever might be interested.
Twitter has become the most popular forum for live news and firsthand reports from ongoing events.
It has also become hugely influential in politics. U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account is in the top ten most popular, with 71 million followers.
Twitter is above all an entertainment forum. Eight of the top ten Twitter accounts in early 2020 are entertainers: Katy Perry (108 million followers), Justin Bieber (108m), Rihanna (97m), Taylor Swift (85m), Cristiano Ronaldo (82m), Lady Gaga (80m), Ellen DeGeneres (79m), and YouTube (72m). Thus, the majority of Twitter attention is devoted to entertainment, reflecting the shallowness of the age and the omnipresence of the pop culture.
Twitter is hugely addictive because of the endless variety of tweets and because of its “real-time” nature. You can read messages the moment they are published anywhere in the world. “Twitter’s strength is real-time. No other social platform comes close on this front” (SocialMediaToday, Mar. 18, 2016).
A large percentage of Twitter communications are poisonous. There is a massive amount of pure hate. Twitter is “filled with rage and arguments” (“Top 20 Most Popular Twitter Accounts,” Timesnext.com, Dec. 24, 2019).
“If one wants a barometer reading of a culture in the full flood of terminal decadence, one need only spend an hour or two on Twitter. One can observe the lynch mobs on the march. One can note the collective pageant of the mentally deficient in full array. One can see how depravity manifests as self-righteous exhilaration” (“Why Twitter Is Bad for Cultural Health,” PJMedia, Mar. 12, 2020).
Twitter has become a major tracking and monitoring tool by researchers and governments. It is used to track flood damage, earthquake activity, civil unrest, virus outbreaks, predict crime, stock market trends, and many other things.
“Twitter has some porn. Buyer beware. Comments and roasting can be toxic at times. Cyberbullying is the big one [problem] here” (Smartphone Sanity).
Twitter allows users to set up multiple accounts with user-assigned names. Thus a teen can set up a Twitter account that does not have his name attached and can invite a list of friends to subscribe to his messages. He then sends out tweet messages to that list that are sent as text messages to their phones.
In 2020, Twitter began censoring and “fact checking” President Donald Trump. Twitter placed a warning label on two of President Trump’s tweets concerning mail-in balloting on May 26 and a tweet about the racial violence in Minneapolis on May 29. Who has appointed Twitter as a speech censor and “fact checker”? There is zero consistently. Twitter allows all sorts of hate-mongering speech and out-and-out lies. If they will censor the president of the United States, they will definitely censor you and me.
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Way of Life Literature
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