Monday, April 6, 2009

Why I'm a Twit OR How many twitter users can I link to in this post?

As you may have noticed from my spiffy gadget on the right side of my page, I have become addicted to Twitter.

It seems like everybody else is too. Spencer Howson from ABC radio station 612 Brisbane confessed to my journalism lecture that he is a Twitter addict. Major news services like The Courier Mail, ABC News and the New York Times provide on-the-go news on Twitter. Triple J Super Request takes requests from Twitter now. Even my journalism lecturers dig it!

As with any new hyped-up technological thing, it receives a fair bit of criticism.

“Why would I want people to read about my every day life? Why would I want to read about what other people do? This is pointless. I’m so angry that I’m going to go outside and go clubbing, get laid and play contact sports, you geeky basement-dwelling losers."

Etc, etc, we've all heard it before.

This video sums up a lot of criticism about Twitter (Twittercism?)

As hilarious as that video is, I think a lot of people are missing the point. Twitter is not like Myspace and Facebook. The point is not to meet friends or internet girlfriends on it. Its strengths lie in professional networking, self-promotion for freelancers and collecting information. A lot of media types have added me to Twitter, which is handy, networking-wise, for an aspiring journalist/dirty new media yuppie like myself. I have gotten a few little interesting news stories from Twitter to put into 4ZZZ news bulletins. It makes my job a whole lot easier, which is pretty awesome.

They tend to post journalism industry happenings, interesting links and news. I am also following some very excellent comedians, very funny bloggers and generally some other cool or interesting Twitterers who always seem to write something entertaining. QUT students love it too, which is great for solidarity when I’m lamenting over my latest uni assignment. Brisneyland is great for chatting about stuff happening locally. The QUT Lolly Shop used to have a Twitter account (until it unfortunately got shut down by the Student Guild) which talked about what was happening around campus – handy things to know, like the busway elevator was broken (again) and pop tarts were for sale!

I do have friends on there, but that is because I am genuinely interested in what they have to say. Why would you add someone very boring that you don’t know? A few people I don’t know, who live in completely different areas and have very little in common with me are following me on Twitter. Here’s a hint: You can ignore them.
That’s not to say there aren’t boring Twits out there. That’s not the fault of the application itself, but rather the people using it. The critics are right in a way – why would you update the internet with every boring, mundane detail of your life? It’s easy to fall into that trap I suppose. I try to put a bit of thought into it. Will people be interested in what I have to say? Would anybody find it worthy to respond to? Is it funny? Is it informative? If not, then I don’t bother. Here's another hint: You don't have to update your Twitter every five seconds for the sake of updating it. 

I suppose Twitter is not for everybody. If you are interested in the world and people around you and have something to say, by all means Twit away until your fingers fall off. But if you only believe that Twitter exists to tell people when you’re on the toilet, trimming your nose hair, purchasing a bag of cheese or anything else that happens in your immensely boring life, then you should probably not get a Twitter account.

Because nobody's forcing you to get one.

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