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Used Effectively it is Worthwhile But Can Become Mundane!
Member Name: Goonerette89
Date: 05/11/11, updated on 13/11/11 (18 review reads)
Advantages: Gather news info and follow those that interest you. An interesting social activity medium.
Disadvantages: Can be dull and is difficult to converse. Unwanted followers.
Hi guys, I have been on here a while but have only just begun writing reviews so hopefully you'll be nice! Haha :)
Anyway now onto the topic in hand:
I have got a Twitter account (I put it off a long time but finally gave in due to curiosity and a little sheep following, I am ashamed to say) and have made about twenty or so Tweets myself. Tweets of course are the status updates you make to your followers on this simple but ever so popular social networking site.
Admittedly I'm following far more than those following me - about fifty people who comprise of famous people and a handful of ordinary guys and girls or acquaintances. I'm not celebrity obsessed and am generally not bothered what drink someone has just had at lunch or what they've just bought in the shops and have chosen who to follow based purely on interests. After all, I don't know these people personally and only want personally effectual updates.
E.g. I am following a few footballers but this is only to monitor how they interact with fans and how they react to wins and sadly more commonly these days in my case, defeats. It does provide the fan and player a closer bond than they had previously. I'm not interested in their private lives so there is that danger of course. I should think that also from their point of view, or that of any so-called celebrity, Twitter provides them with more security than Facebook though because of its simplicity and more personal approach.
Also worth following are news and sports channels such as BBC or Sky as well as journalists and this is what gives Twitter the edge over other social networking facilities such as Facebook to me. It gives you a consistent notification of what is happening, current affairs-wise, and provides you with a very useful news feed. A lot of the world's journalists use social networking sites to gain information from so it is worth using Twitter in the same way: a little like a simpler yet faster-thinking news channel.
Your profile is quite basic. Like YouTube you are able to upload a photo and use it on your background or use a block of colour as well as change the colour theme. There is also the typical avatar inclusion at the side of your username.
You're given just the one or two sentences worth to describe yourself as well. There is also a private messaging service and the opportunity to re-tweet tweets just as you would re-post photos on Tumblr and increase its circulation.
Photos can be posted if necessary but I think this is one of Twitter's weaknesses in comparison to the likes of Tumblr or Facebook. With Facebook, you're able to post whole albums and with Tumblr you can post it within your actual post. Whereas Twitter's interface is only large enough to post a few words and/or links. Talking of Facebook, you are able to post your Tweets to your Facebook page to annoy twice as many people along the way!
I stopped Tweeting a long time ago myself, because I realised that in contrast to more famous or important (they don't always go hand in hand of course) people or companies, I'm neither important nor famous and no-one really cares what I have to say in a few words. I feel I only have something worth wile to say to the online community if I'm reaching out to them with something helpful such as reviews (such as here) or on my blog and that takes many words, which is not possible on Twitter.
I did get a few unwanted followers (trolls etc.) at first but they soon un-followed; however, that is a problem with Twitter. Unless you restrict your following settings to the point that you have to confirm them, you are open to absolutely any type of follower and cannot ignore them like on Facebook. I have gained a few classic film loving followers due to my famous old actress background and mention of it in my profile; yet it seems quite difficult to have any real, mature conversation with them, due to character limitations and the site's layout, despite having a shared interest. Whereas in Facebook you are able to join groups relating to specific interests or politics, on Twitter it is more ambiguous. There's no groups or games. In some ways this is part of its appeal. Facebook could be described as too complex to the point of tackiness because of its many features; some of which are not even useful.
I should imagine it would be an excellent publicity tool if you are running a business though. Posting quick updates to those who follow you about your latest product and plans is a quick and effective way of providing the latest update without wasting paper via leaflets and the like, as well as putting out links to websites and blogs.
It is possible to use it as a social insight device, just by going to Twitter's site and searching something specific in the search bar. It gives you a vague notion of how people perceive something. This is also something you can do with Facebook but with more limited results due to stricter privacy settings. Of course society has become more narcissistic so I wouldn't be surprised if some more famous folk search themselves! If they have the guts, that is: since the internet as a whole, and this is not excluding Twitter, is chock full of trolls and real opinion.
It is always interesting to note that to the side of the main Twitter interface you are given updates of what is 'trending' via keywords (either nationally, globally and locally). Usually it is nothing interesting at all: just something you are more likely to read about in OK! magazine or something! Nonetheless it does give an interesting view of how its users think and when something big happens globally, it's usually trending. However, I acknowledge that I could be taking it slightly too seriously. Just to give you an idea of the power of Twitter in terms of news broadcasting is that if a famous person is trending on Twitter, many people automatically assume they may have died or something (although not necessarily the case). It has become a powerful means in how people gather research on current activity.
I'd say personally with me the jury is out as far as Twitter is concerned. Not as exciting as Facebook or as cool as Tumblr to some, perhaps due to its simplicity, although it's a lot classier with less of the spam and annoying extras. Excellent tool if you want regular updates from half-important people but rather dull if you've nothing interesting to say yourself and as a result cannot attract a decent following. Difficult to carry a conversation with real friends or those with similar interests so I find it difficult to pinpoint the use of telling others what you're doing unless you have something interesting to say.
Like anything, if used effectively it's okay! I suppose it would make not a bad personal archive as well. I can understand if a few people would find it that the novelty wears off relatively swiftly, though. It really depends on what you demand in your social networking.
Summary: Can be used to gather news and other info but is basic and mundane compared to Facebook et al.