Discussion: What Is Twitter? Is It A Conversation or A Broadcast?


The following is a discussion I started on a Linkedin group.The discussion revolves around twitter and seeking a workable definition for this new platform.  The discussion takes an interesting turn.  The names of the contributors have been abbreviated and all comments posted in best chronology regardless of the group of origin.

What is twitter? Is it a conversation or a broadcast?

Twitter has been around since 2001 and never caught on till now. The question still remains what is twitter? It is supposed to be a microblog patterned after the text messaging activities done on cell phones. Yes. But how does that benefit us? Twitter's claim to fame is that it provides a conversation between friends and more. This article makes a great point that twitter is more a broadcast (one way communication) than an actual conversation and I agree. What do you think?

Posted 11 days ago | Delete discussion 

Kirk J.

Personally, twitter is a twit. I have refused to use it. However, as a business or team leader who needs to instant message orders out to personnel, twitter is useful. Beyond team coordination and vital current events, it is but another means to achieve information overload more efficiently. Given most people have a hard time with very little information, I would not recommend pursuing data like that.

The only bad thing is eventually it will lead to criminal misconduct because if you are an open twitterer broadcasting your every move to unknown readers and you are relatively known or famous, A stalker, or other form of criminal could use this to target you at a vulnerable point. It is only a matter of time before such a crime occurs. I pray it never does.

That begs the question of communication security. A family having a twitter net is a great idea, especially for children. But the concept of a closed net is vital. They are the only ones who need to know about it. The best analogy is the circle of friends. An absolutely open circle is a bad idea, but overlapping hinged circles based on participants who keep the circles separate would serve the users well.

Posted 11 days ago | Reply Privately

Cush D.

I never thought of it that way. I read an article two weeks ago how someone tweet he was on vacation and his house got robbed. I guess tweeting can become a big problem. Thanks for your great input.

Posted 11 days ago | Delete comment

Derek Z.

Depends on how it is used. Some use it as a broadcast, some as a linking tool for site traffic, some to engage co-workers or friends on daily collaborations and even others can use it for a means of instant answers/resources from a variety of sources – some you may have never considered. My use has been for networking in industry and personal channels and creating an ongoing dialogue with resources I would not have otherwise been able to connect with.
And face it, maybe twitter is not the thing we all want or need – but that platform of instant social media is here to stay and is growing fast…

One of our success stories is:- from a talent acquisition standpoint our firm has been able to connect (and stay connected) to college students (recruits) and create an ongoing dialogue with them through twitter that is an added communication tool to those we already use.

Posted 11 days ago | Reply Privately

Kirk J.

Absolutely, how you use it is everything. As a tech, who has spent 20 years fixing and repairing the most advanced intelligence technology for people without a clue, I have seen first hand how tech can bite you in the posterior. There is an old saying in the tech world that applies to Twitter, "One must be smarter than the tools one uses, lest they suffer self inflicted injuries by their own tools."

Twitter in my opinion is the most powerful intelligence tool commercially available because of its gathering and distribution capacity. This is both good and bad. Bad guys who seek to take advantage of your absence from home or work, can easily sit and wait for your signal to attack you. The same is true for traveling, especially if your prone to use the same route everyday.

I have grown overly security conscious in my old age, I believe that a well informed public should be able to take advantage of this service without making themselves out to be perpetual victims if they are smarter than the device in their hands.

Posted 11 days ago | Reply Privately

Cush D.

Facebook is very protective of member privacy and data while myspace is a fairly open system. Then, the membership of myspace is primarily teenagers while facebook was popularized by college students who later graduated and facebook had to admit non-college members to keep those folks around. Twitter has been made popular too recently to have serious complaints. One factor in popularity of twitter is the numbers shown for "followed" and "following." This number has become a measure of one' ego: "I have 6000 followers on twitter one may say." And how many actually read your tweets?? The same way mass marketers use twitter to broadcast the crooks can use the system to find victims. I just learned all this from Kirk J. It pays to have intelligent company. One more thing that came to my mind this morning is that Linkedin controls the vanity of its members by not showing contact numbers beyond 500. If one has more than 500 contacts, the profile states 500+ which is actually very professional and twitter should do this. That will pop many ego balloons on twitter (and ends the followed/following game since no more ego rewards) and also lightens the number of people connecting to each other and thus more control. Twitter is a system for linking to ABSOLUTE strangers and I am beginning how safe that really is.

Posted 11 days ago | Delete comment

Trish O.

I have a twitter account and question the use of it as well. I have receieved several questionable "now watching you" requests recently. I have been actively clicking on the "block this link" button. You are correct, what you broadcast on any of these social network sites can be used against you. ALWAYS review before you add the information and monitor what you are broadcasting. Unfortunately, wht is placed on the internet stays on the internet. There is no way to retract once it is submitted.

Posted 10 days ago | Reply Privately

Kirk J.

I think there is one thing we can all appreciate and that is the sense of power that technology gives us. The ability and sensation to be in control is a great feeling. However, that power can also create fear, real fear. Don't let that happen to you. Always remember that there is an ON/OFF switch available to you.

Also if you have studied mythology and religion, one can easily see this phenomenon of numbers. Like the old union saying, "There is strength in numbers." In ancient times, religions based the power of their gods by the number of followers it had. Today the same is true for political groups and if you understand philosophy, you can easily see the correlations that render religion and politics together. (Which happens to be thought and thought control) Those numbers and the games we play with numbers are misleading and deceptive. It is one thing to be a member of an anonymous mass because there is safety in anonymity, but if you can be singled out of a mass, then you are vulnerable. Twitter can do both. You can be apart of the collective with anonymity relatively safe but you can also be singled out of the mass if you become vocal. The interesting thing is twitter flips the power of the leader/follower concept. Now the anonymous follower has power over the leader who is advertising their every move to an adoring audience.

There are many things that you can do to protect yourself and there is a great deal to learn and experience through the great innovations we have to spoil the masses today. But power is our individual responsibility and our duty is to learn understand and manage that power reasonably. I think a well informed populous who deeply cares about the impact of their actions on themselves and others will be responsible and able to use great power without fear or concern for the rest of us. It is always those few who grow desperate for attention, recognition, concolliation that end up abusing what they have.

Don't be intoxicated by the numbers because they are a deception to mislead and misinform you. Look to the politicians today whose every decision is based on polls. They end up looking like idiots, because of another old saying, "Figures can lie, and lairs can figure."

Stay safe and stay healthy,

Posted 10 days ago | Reply Privately


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