I recently coined the term, “Twitternoia”, to describe my curiosity and emerging apprehension about the possibility of running into someone “in real life” who follows me on Twitter.This week when grabbing coffee with my boss, who knew me through Twitter before my employment, I looked at the person in front of me and wondered, “is he one of my Twitter followers?” It was at this thought that I knew I was deeply rooted in Twitter.
I was enchanted with all the buzz about Twitter when I joined at the end of April of this year. By July Twitter evolved into a something more than a social media tool; Twitter engrossed my free time, made me hyper-aware of wi-fi hotspots, and tweeting became the first and last thing I did every day. I became a “twaddict” and Twitter became my preferred mode of everyday communication.
Twitter was just another extension of micro-blogging when I first signed up. I began tweeting random information about myself in the same frequency and subject in which I updated my Facebook statuses. In a few weeks Twitter had overgrown it’s unimportant spot in my life and screamed, “Feed me!” Like Audrey II, Twitter begged me to devote even more resources; Twitter updates started coming to me on my phone, my computer was set to launch Twitter apps at startup and when bored I read the live updates of all Twitter users. Even now, I run both Twhirl and Tweetdeck so that a single retweet, reply, or update never goes unread.
What makes Twitter, a social media tool, an addiction as powerful as Facebook or even WoW? I think it boils down to one singular truth: Twitter is the essence of modern communication. There are twenty-somethings entering the work place who have a phobia of talking on phones and live in the realm of 160 character text messaging. People add others in mass on social network sites such as Facebook and Myspace and freely share personal information with hundreds of users. Email has been side-stepped to be used for important issues that demand a response, while comment or wall post etiquette allows the recipient the choice to ignore or respond.
Twitter is a site that broadcasts information in under 140 characters to a vast audience that has no obligation to reply. So Joe is running late to work because he couldn’t find his keys and the cat was asleep under the car. It’s all sad really, but I don’t need to reply. On the other hand, Lindsey just tweeted about the awesome Halloween costume her niece wore while trick-or-treating, and I decide to reply and ask about the candy-filled excursion. With Twitter using the fundamentals of all social networking and social media tools, I believe Twitter can explode upon the everyday scene and turn into mainstream communication. Twitter is on the verge of being universal; it can be accessed anywhere you can find wi-fi or get cellphone reception, send messages to someone on your block or to a friend across the ocean, and it can have 140 characters reach a huge audience in a matter of seconds. Twitter has the capability to be the next mainstream form of communication as soon as it jumps from a majority of tech-saavy users to a diverse user base (teenagers would love this stuff).
So perhaps, while my eyes roam to the left hand corner of my screen to check for my tweeps’ updates, Twitter isn’t merely an addicting social media tool, but rather the next form of communication for society.
I wonder what my friends on Twitter have to say about this….