Week 8. Twitter, instant gratification.

Johnson (2009) poses this question in regards to Twitter, ‘ Why does the world need this, exactly?’

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Good question Johnson! Who are we to say that people will be interested in what I had for breakfast this morning? Although, surprisingly people are actually interested in this mundane information. Baring in mind that the information isn’t an overshare of personal life, people are and will continue to be interested in how others live. Twitter has the ability to broadcast to users  ‘followers,’ 140 characters that you choose to write, which can range from the mundane through to breaking news stories or information as you see it. This rise of citizens reporting events as they happen are reducing the need for others to watch the traditional news on the television or waiting to read about it the following day in the newspaper.

How insanely valuable is this instant information to society? Instant reporting of events eliminates the ‘gatekeepers’ who choose what to present in the mainstream media. This allows for niche markets that otherwise would be forgotten about. If you want to read about women’s hockey in Japan, Twitter will provide, if you want to read about Australia’s political happenings, well Twitter and the traditional news will both provide. Twitter has this interesting ability to group topics together, with the use of  ‘hashtags.’ It also has the ability for users to search hashtags and therefore view a wide range of opinions and thoughts from others on the particular topic.

Not only can Twitter allow for the utilisation of hashtags, but users can also have genuine conversations with an extended group of people. Allowing for users to report information so that others can see, especially if it is news worthy. Traditional news outlets will gather the information, it will be edited by closed editorial hierarchy and then the editor decides which responses and letters are to be made public (Bruns, 2009. This is a highly regulated cycle. So how does Twitter help this? It removes the roles of the gatekeepers/watchers (Bruns 2009) who make the ultimate decisions on what is published. Users decide for themselves what to publish, and if it gains some attention they can look further into the issue. Providing information that the other Twitter users want. It is a bit of supply and demand for on tap news sources. What happens to traditional news journalists if everyone and their dog are now citizen journalists and provide information for the world?

Johnson (2009) makes a prediction  in his article saying that three to four years on he believes Twitter will be overtaken by its successor. Now in 2012, we see that it has not been replaced by a successor, it has only evolved and developed in user activity and content. It makes me wonder when Twitter will become obsolete and go the way of MySpace? Or if not, what will become of it? Where to next?

Johnson, S. (2009). How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live.Time [URL:http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1902604,00.html]

Bruns, A. (2009) ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’ [URL:ttp://produsage.org/files/News%20Blogs%20and%20Citizen%20Journalism.pdf]

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10 responses to “Week 8. Twitter, instant gratification.

  1. Twitter is one of the many online platforms beginning to realize the power of collective intelligence, twitters user base is greater than the sum of its parts and is better at providing content than traditional media outlets. The media outlets are restrained by their budget and the amount of content they can produce are only capable of either appealing to a few small niches of interest or a few broad groups. Only platforms like twitter full of ‘prod-users’ can successfully fill both these categories.

  2. Something interesting about Twitter and most other social media platforms is how we actually deal with all that inane, useless or everyday information that people post.

    Thinking about it, we can register the fact that there are so many empty, inane messages because it’s not uncommon to read through them consistently, though this might vary from person to person and some might skip over more than others.

    It seems like we treat it as background noise, yet seem to register a lot of it at the same time even when glancing through. That alone is a testament to how easily read and condensed typical information truly is today.

    Then, when something interesting or noteworthy happens, we snap it up. It reminds me of a bump in a road that’s otherwise so straight and unremarkable we can easily coast across it by habit alone. For a lot of people now, even if they’re idling away time bored, they might be connected to some kind of information source doing exactly this and endlessly browsing for the majority of their day looking for this bump.

    Perhaps the next step in terms of what Twitter’s successor might be is a platform that refines this habit even further.

  3. I think whats most important about the plethora of information people post about themselves isnt nessesarily each individuals posts content and its perceived value but moreso the collective nature of all this data and information we post about ourselves. The online profile and character we build for ourselves on the internet could in fact surpass the depth that others understand about us in the real world. We are creating images of ourselves that frame almost every single aspect in our life and this to me creates what I like to a call a “hyper-self”.

  4. It always amazes me when people around the world reply to my tweets and make me feel part of a global conversation.
    Your final question of where to next is really interesting, because I can’t see a new technology surpassing Twitter any time soon. What I think the next big developments will be is the uses of Twitter and other social media and the integration of them into other devices. We can already tweet via our smartphones, which means we can tweet photos and links and where we are.
    I think the convergence of social media into other devices, to automatically broadcast our information may be the next stage.

    • I might be a case of integrating it into the real world, maybe a ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ function added to everyday items so we do not need a mobile phone or any other type of digital connection. Twitter in it’s really only become important within the last couple of years. The other day i was thinking of what it would be like if people added Facebook icons to their shirts so if you wanted to become friends with them all you needed to to was touch it. But that would be very far into the future until something remotely like that would be invented.

  5. The question of where to next is almost unfathomable. I can’t handle twitter today, so whatever comes next will more then likely blow my mind lol
    Its increasing so rapidly and more and more people are flocking to the twitter platform its hard to see anything else surpass it? Comparing it to myspace however, a 14 year olds medium to share bathroom selfies probably isn’t the best comparison.

    I would go as far to say that even at this present time, Facebook is on its way out . woahhhh yea i went there.

  6. The elimination of media ‘gatekeepers’, as you mentioned, is such a big step forward for the journalism industry. Although this can’t be attributed to Twitter entirely, it sure has helped change the ways in which we now engage and demonstrates what a big step forward new information outlets like Twitter have allowed us to take. We are now our own gatekeepers, deciding on exactly what information we want to intake and being able to find more niche interests thanks to the benefits Twitter can provide! It really is interesting to wonder the future of Twitter, but I completely agree with you that it has only evolved since Johnson’s article in 2009 and definitely think it will be sticking around for a while.

  7. Personally I think that for there to be quality in journalism there needs to be some level of editorial control. Not so much in a gate-keeping sense or choosing what information will be spread, but in the sense that stories need to be well sourced and well written. To me this is the reason professional journalism will never disappear. People want to be able to put a name to a story and know that it was well researched.

    • But what happens when citizen journalists become as well sourced and as informed as professional journalists? It’s all well and good to assume that it will continue to hold its place in the high reaches of the media, but it is a distinct possibly that people who are professional journalists will just become another type of user. Taking into account the bias and corporate influence which is placed on journalists, it would be more than likely if sites such as Reddit or Twitter become the next step in journalism. Just because someone has a job as a journalist, doesn’t necessarily make them a good one.

  8. The cool thing about twitter is audiences can pick up news that they are interested in. Back in the old media age, all content, especially news have to go through a gatekeeper. However, it also means all of the content has their credibility. People likes Twitter because it is instantaneous, free, and no content control, but you can not rely everything on it. I think Twitter has change the way of traditional media reporting, people does not want to be a passive audience any more. Traditional media have to make a change if they still want to have audience, which is good for us anyway!

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