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