Twitter is now 10 years old! Who would’ve thought this social network would become a major part of our daily lives and change the way we communicate?
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet “just setting up my twttr” on 21st March 2006, since then Twitter has globally expanded to 332 million active users worldwide with 500 million tweets sent every day!*
Twitter currently has revenues of $2 billion and a market value of more than $11 billion dollars, with a somewhat troublesome past and a more uncertain future. The social media site has its uses and downfalls, therefore we have listed some of the ways Twitter has changed how we communicate with others:
Cut to the chase
The 140 character limit forces users to get straight to the point or even type out a punchline without rambling. Twitter can be a source of comedy, as you will find all your favourite comedians ‘testing the water’ with their jokes through tweets.
Twitterature and abbreviations
Naturally users have tweaked the English language to adapt to the character limit with a whole new wave of abbreviations and “twitterature” – literary writing produced within Twitter’s limitations.
You only need to take a quick look on your home feed to find abbreviations such as: “RT” for retweet, “DM” for direct message, “RTM” for read the manual and “ICYMI” for in case you missed it.
Sharing moments through retweets and hashtags
“Going viral” has never been so easy, on Twitter users can retweet someone else’s message with all their followers in just one simple click. Associating a tweet with relevant hashtags to a specific event or issue could cause the tweet spread like wildfire.
Twitter has seen its fair share of debates between celebrities and politicians alike which seem to always grab the attention of the press. The rockstar/next President aka Kanye West has been trending for his recent Twitter ramblings over the past couple of months which have seen him get brutally owned by the likes of Amber Rose and Deadmau5. These moments were shared with the Twitter world and went viral for several days. If you want a laugh then we suggest you have a look at Yeezy’s twitter feed here > https://twitter.com/kanyewest.
Social campaigns have used Twitter to spread the word on issues such as #NoMorePage3, #MarriageEquality and #HeForShe. Twitter has also seen very engaging marketing campaigns from brands such as the classic #ShareaCoke campaign by Coca-Cola in the summer of 2013 which recently broke the record for “World’s Largest Cheers”.
Observations can be seen and read by anyone
On Twitter, if your account is not set to private, your witty comments can be seen by anyone in the world. A popular topic is #HotTake which encourages people to tweet whatever they are doing at the time – this so called “citizen journalism” means that reporting on live events can become very noisy, very quickly.
Therefore controversial and harsh criticisms are more likely to be noticed as people are more outspoken and judgemental on Twitter than they are in real life. A popular talk show in America has a segment where A-list celebrities read the meanest tweets they have received, take a look:
Numbers can influence
As with most social networks it can seem like a competition to have the most followers as it is usually the first thing you see when you look on their profile. People with large amounts of followers on Twitter are seen as “influencers” and could be approached by companies to endorse products or promote a cause.
However, a large amount of followers does not always reflect the quality of tweets created by a person. In fact, some people go to extreme lengths just to increase that number, even paying for followers.
Twitter allows users to sign up for a profile anonymously which can attract people who feel like they need to get out their opinions or feelings whilst avoiding personal attention or criticism. Other social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin and Google + all force users to create a profile with their real names.
However allowing anonymity is partly why Twitter is the centre of the “trolling” community such as the recent increase in high-profile women exposed to “vitriol, sexism and misogyny” every time they speak on Twitter.
What does the future hold for Twitter?
In January 2016, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey released a statement after much speculation, considering a new 10,000 character limit which we could see change in 2016.*
It is difficult to predict the future of Twitter but for now it seems that the social network is the place to go for live events and news, enabling us to interact with our favourite live television shows and sport events from around the globe. It also gives us the ability to voice our opinions on certain issues, find common ground with people and influence change.