Twitter, a social micro-blogging website has burst onto the scene and become embedded into the fabric of society and more importantly has become one of society’s methods of staying ‘in touch.’ Twitter has attracted users from all walks of life, be they mainstream corporations, governmental organizations, political activists, advertisers, celebrities, or merely people who wish to connect with their friends and the wider world around them. Twitter has proven its effectiveness as the power of Twitter has been harnessed, mined for its expediency in news transmission and instantaneous updates. As Twitter has grown in popularity, I have become an avid Twitter user, connected to a diverse audience.
While scrolling down a Twitter feed, my attention was caught by a comment which read, “Twitter is a heavily populated city, Facebook is just a vacation spot and MySpace is a ghost town.” While I don’t know about the validity of the comment in relation to Facebook or MySpace, it cannot be disputed that Twitter is a “heavily populated city,” one which I was not always a part of.
Twitter, according to Nancy Messieh from “The Next Web” “is growing at a rate of eleven accounts per second and could easily surpass the five hundred million users mark by February of 2012.” Suddenly, it seemed crucial that I join these users and begin interacting in a more positive and productive manner. I was instantly motivated to dig out my Twitter password and username which had been hastily scribbled onto an index card and tossed in a drawer immediately after creation late last year. I found I was still following the same five to ten people, over half of which were family members or fellow athletes. My followers consisted of an equally familiar and predictable bunch of friends and family members. Previously, I might have been satisfied with that but, after learning that Twitter is home to a vibrant community of five hundred million individuals, I was compelled to start reaching out.
Almost ten hours later, I had three assignments still waiting for me, a new appreciation for the intricacies of wasting time and I had managed to follow almost 1891 assorted individuals. I had cast a wide net and was ‘connecting’ with everyone, from governmental organizations, news agencies, charity groups, political figures, writers, and everyday people. In return, I had gained 250 followers of equally diverse backgrounds. I looked at my home page and was fascinated with the amount of pure ‘news’ whittled down to 140 characters and a link which continuously streamed in. Instantly, I was up-to-date on the latest legislation, the newest social media website craze, and the latest breaking news event sweeping the nation. I could not have been any more excited.
I logged off, already planning my next foray into the huge thriving digital world that was Twitter. Retweets and more followers….here I come! My plan started off the next day with surprising success. Through the night, my follower base had grown to 279 followers so I was fairly confident I had cracked the secret of securing followers. The more people you follow, the more people will follow you. I started off with ‘Retweets’, turning myself into a ‘journalist’ of sorts. I tracked down interesting news blurbs on my feed and retweeted them to my followers, sometimes adding an interesting hashtag to my posts. I continued tracking down interesting people and clicking the Follow button until I was following over two thousand people and Twitter refused to allow me to follow anyone else! My fun with Twitter had been officially ended and I felt cheated. Over five hundred million people and I was only allowed to connect to two thousand? There was nothing I could do about the people who refused to follow back – why should that limit who I am allowed to follow. Nevertheless, it did and I promptly launched a mass deletion of ‘Tweeps’ from my account. Everyone who wasn’t following me was immediately removed until I whittled the number of people I follow down to three hundred and fifty while I have three hundred and thirty people who follow me. I now visit the pages of various Twitter accounts and ‘retweet’ or ‘favorite’ as a method of sharing news and information I find interesting.
Today, I am still determined to reach out to my fellow Twitter-er; however, I have devised a strategy which will keep me well within the limitations imposed by Twitter and still allow me to share news from all over. At 344 Following and 342 Followers, my Twitter account is balanced but my news feed is rich with the diverse perspectives of Twitter-ers everywhere. Follow me @coyj.
Messieh, Nancy. “Twitter Adding 11 New Accounts A Second and Could Pass 500 Million Users by February, says Report.” The Next Web. The Next Web, 16 January 2012. Web. 18 March 2012.