Tag Archives: microblogging

Microblogging: The Twitter Revolution

5 Oct

So by now everyone has heard of Twitter, the world´s most popular form of ¨microblogging,¨defined in class as brief text updates with the intention of explaining to others what is going on in a very quick way. The popularity of Twitter has snuck up on me rather quickly, and I was surprised to find out in class that I was one of only three students to not have an account. While it would take forever to debate the endless pros and cons of relying on Twitter for information, I will quickly share two recent examples of Twitter usage that demonstrate both its advantages and potential dangers.

1.) While at a New York Mets game only days before my departure for Barcelona, the crowd suddenly realized in the middle of the game that the team´s star player, Jose Reyes, had just been removed. He had shown no apparent signs of injury, as is usually the case with the oft-injured shortstop. The buzz and panic was apparent around the stadium, as fans asked each other what was going on, and sent text messages to viewers back home, hoping that the announcers would have said something on the television broadcast. With the team broadcasters having to remain cautious about what they report on the air, however, there was no mention of injury other than the observation that Reyes was no longer on the field. My friend quickly took out his iPhone, pressed one button, and immediately had several Twitter updates from several sources unofficially connected to the team. Within mere seconds he could tell me, by piecing together various tweets, that Reyes had suffered a slight pull of his hamstring, that he was grimacing while being helped into the locker room by trainers, and that he would undergo an MRI exam the following morning. Without microblogging, I would have sat through the game worrying about my favorite team´s best player, driven home anxiously, and waited for the team to announce something, hours later, and after careful consideration about how to word their reports, about his condition. Talk about an instant stream of information available at one´s fingertips…

2.) One of the most infamous cases involving Twitter consisted of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner posting an, um, inappropriate picture of his lower area to a female follower on Twitter (I won´t post it, but it is remarkably easy to find online…). Weiner apparently meant to send the picture privately to his ´fan´but made the grave mistake of posting it to his account, making it visible to all followers. While he realized what he had done just seconds within the erroneous posting, and erased it immediately, at least one of his Twitter followers noticed, and the biggest political scandal of the year was underway. Fast forward a couple of weeks and the man once considered the favorite for New York Mayor had resigned, more women had come forward with incriminating evidence against him, and his marriage was in jeopardy. All from a Twitter posting removed within seconds!

As both examples above demonstrate, Twitter provides millions of users with information available only seconds after it actually occurs (hey, remember Osama Bin Laden´s unknowing neighbor who tweeted that it was rare to hear helicopter noise at 1 am in Abbottabad?) So, the final question remains, as Twitter expands and more and more users post information every second: is this good or bad for today´s society? Maybe a bit (or a lot) of both?