Twitter is Great – But is it a Big Schoolyard?

This was written by user ‘coffeebreath’ on coffeebreath dot wordpress dot com and no other. This blog has been hijacked by anyone who portrays themselves otherwise. If you see abuse, you can report it, which will be appreciated. Sorry about you having to read that; feel free to read on.

What is Twitter*- definition at the bottom of the page

Know-it-alls? Wow, people are going a bit crazy for twitter.com, huh? I mean, please don’t get me wrong, twitter rocks. I like it. What I am not too sure about are the newfound, self-proclaimed aficionados, eggheads, or shall I say bigheads. These are terms I had in mind when writing this, although I don’t use them or do any name calling. Just so you have in mind the definitions of these words, they are defined.

Definitions: Aficionados for your benefit, defined on dictionary.com as “An enthusiastic admirer or follower; a fan.” The self-proclaimed eggheadsInformal: Often Disparaging, an intellectual.” Bigheads “an excessive estimate of one’s importance; conceit.”

These terms are not meant, necessarily, in a negative way. Granted, some people have been on twitter for quite a while and have much experience under their belt. It is just that twitter has really kicked in for a lot of people and many people are really pumped and feeling the need to comment about what it does for, and to people. Twitter is hot. Just today on a twitter user said this, “Mybloglog, Plaxo, LinkedIn, are all going twitterish.”

Hot and Fresh: Some people are just finding out about twitter and love it as a way to connect with friends and family and meet new people. Some people do not know quite what to make of Twitter yet. For many people, twitter is not brand new and is commonplace. It is actually a way of scheduling for some, almost a means to an end. Some people use twitter to express themselves, microblog, keep up with friends or vent. More and more people are starting to get annoyed by other twitter users (which we will discuss later). Other people love twitter and are obsessed, which they openly discuss on twitter. For yet others, twitter is not so new and the obsessiveness has worn off; they are at peace with themselves. I would say this is about where I fall, although I am beginning to be over it. After all, this is not my life. School wasn’t either. I guess you could say I see the big picture.

Twitter Users: I am at the point right now that I am just confused by the self-proclaimed eggheads or people who blog irritation about all of these “twits” (and silly terms they coin for people using twitter) who they say do not know what they are doing in twitter land. Some people seem to have too much time on their hands if they feel the need to knock people down for just being social. If you do not want to ‘follow’ a certain individual on twitter, then don’t do it – you have the choice! You can also “block” a person on twitter, yet another choice. And you have the choice to blog about how frustrated you are by the fact that another twitter user had the nerve to try to follow your important self to begin with!

A Who’s Who: I personally think all of the name-dropping is humorous. Once you move around twitter a while you will see who these people are and the companies and blogs they are behind and what I mean. The way people react to this is interesting. You can see who follows the people that are basically the industry, the industry leaders, the followers, etc. (More is being said than what you might think, by the way).

Newbies: I have read several blogs where people (current, long-standing twitter users) have made frustrated, bulleted lists detailing their irritation with naive twitter users that make mistake after mistake. New users have to start somewhere and they will make a few mistakes in order to get started somehow. One person wrote how it drives him crazy that people don’t use the @ symbol in front of the user’s names when sending “tweets” or messages. (This just means the person would not receive their message, this is not rude in any way and could just be a simple typo). It is funny to me because this is an online community where basic etiquette is expected and respected by the large majority. Some people could just settle down a little and things would really be ok, really. Ha!

Bad Rule ‘Follows’: Here is a hot topic in Twitter world – those who follow more people than they have following them. This is the #1 most common complaint twitter users have about other users, and #1 most common reason people will not choose to return the favor to ‘follow’ users who have begun ‘following’ them. It is a somewhat more complicated social circle than I initially realized – what it is is school all over again really. The same people who express irritation about the follow to not follow rule will say, “don’t take it personal if I don’t follow you.” They are basically saying they are snubbing you. You are not up to par for them, not cool enough. You can follow them around like lost sheep all day if you want to but it won’t make you any cooler and they are just more irritated at you and writing more and more blog posts about you. Do even the ‘famous’ want to be liked? Maybe so. But they might slip and if they make a typo and forget the “@” symbol to one of their high profile people or they tweet a meaningless quip and you are on the receiving end of it then, hey, that’s your prerogative. You have the choice to ‘follow’ that person, after all. Twitter has become a big schoolyard I guess.

Change? Could things change on twitter? Twitter will probably always be a social experiment of change because it involves people communicating. As a real, actual social network, people could work together, harmoniously. If twitter individuals worked together and helped one another promote their blogs, websites and businesses with pingbacks and the like, twitter could be a healthy environment and a little less like school. Twitter sounds like people being afraid of who to follow because of their stats (follow to followed) and basically how ‘cool’ they are because of who they are (hint: the famous cool people – really well known – will never follow you back). Some people are on twitter to learn, just like in school. Some are there to goof off, just like in school. Twitter’s social atmosphere could change for the people who need help if some people had the idea of being there to help out once in a while, or should I say more of the time. Just to interject on my own thoughts here, I do not expect people on twitter to always be helping people, for free especially. In general it does not take much to assist someone in 140 characters or less in the general direction they need to go. Twitter is a unique environment and still can be utilized in a good way, it is just getting tricky to do this, especially for the new user. Keeping the balanced viewpoint of not worrying so much about self-image and self-importance and just keeping some humility might help overall though, right? Maybe it’s not so important what’s in a name and who we are but what we can learn from others and how we can help them first, then maybe we can benefit. Or is that too old school?

In Conclusion: The basic idea of keeping a balance and not getting uptight seems to be the rule of thumb, and holds true here again. The twitter user has control over their account. No biggies, no worries. It is just funny the way people are when you throw them into this environment and they start talking and they are still people, no matter what. If you try to see the big picture for yourself, help others and keep them ahead of yourself in life, at least a little, it usually works out to your benefit. What did we learn from social aspects of school? Twitter is social networking for sure, it’s just a new take on the ‘social’ aspect, I think.

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*What is twitter? “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific.” – from Wikipedia.org

Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application. For SMS, four gateway numbers are currently available: short codes for the USA, Canada, and India, as well as a UK number for international use. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via email. – from Wikipedia.org

 

 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. SM 3.07.08 @ 07:15

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~ by coffeebreath on March 7, 2008.

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