Twitter is the world in which clarity is key. Users, or Tweeters, are limited to 140 characters to express their thoughts. People are learning to maximize every single word they use to communicate effectively.
Since its launch in 2006, Twitter gained popularity because it allows users to update others on thoughts, ideas, and small life moments. Unlike other social networking mediums,Twitter connects users that do not necessarily know each other. Fans can “follow” their favorite celebrities. Those searching for jobs can take a quick look at companies’ Twitter pages to understand how certain companies operate.
In a time where instant gratification rules our lives, it is essential that information is given in short, concise sound bites. Obviously, longer, more articulate articles are necessary to relay import information. Yet, during day to day life, when the masses are busy with work, they crave smaller bits of information. They are easier to digest and do not take time to read.
Many users make use of Twitter by posting personal information (ex. what they ate for breakfast, how they did on their chemistry test, how their day went). Users also post inspirational quotes or fun creative ideas. Another use of Twitter comes during times when mass communication is even more crucial, like during natural disasters, political elections, and large community events. During these moments, people must focus their attention on numerous modes of media. They are watching television broadcasts, listening to radio messages, and sifting through written articles. With this huge mass of information, it must be broken down so that all people can have access to it. This is where Twitter can be helpful.
From a student’s standpoint, Twitter can aid in sifting through copious amount of information. Jordan Smith, a senior at Regent University uses Twitter to connect with others during events when he wants to hear various opinion. Jordan says, “I use Twitter when I watch tv shows, so it keeps me updated on what’s going on. It’s fun to hear everyone’s opinion.” Through use of the hashtag, Twitter’s # symbol, users can group ideas and topics together. For example, during Hurricane Sandy, people updated relief information using the hashtag #Hurricane Sandy. In instances like this, it is helpful to have a medium like Twitter to constantly stream information back and forth.
During the latest presidential election, Twitter served as a launching point for, not only political pundits, but also for young people who wished to express their concerns. On Twitter’s blog, helpful hints on how to use Twitter during the election and other big events are given. It is estimated that over 10 million tweets were sent during the first presidential debate this year. It was a record-setting moment. Elizabeth Morrison is a former Regent student who interned with the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. She notes, “A lot of what Twitter was used for during the election was GOTV efforts (get out the vote) and also used during debates to debunk what the other side was saying.” Elizabeth understands the importance of social media during big events: “Twitter is important during elections because it sends a short, effective message to millions of people within seconds. It pulls people in and gets them interested.” Twitter is one of the great ways to connect with others online.