Apr 21, 2010 Comments Off
Before this assignment, my public opinion of Twitter was that it was pretty pointless. Who really wants to receive constant updates about someone’s menial daily activities? I just didn’t think Twitter had much of a point. However, I could also tell that Twitter was becoming a large feature of the online world. Many of the websites I visited suggested that I follow them on Facebook- or Twitter. Out of curiosity, I would sometimes visit their Twitter pages (or the Twitter pages of celebrities…) just to see what all the hype was about. I’ll admit it was fun reading about the happenings of celebrities, but I didn’t think that interest would translate to an average person. This assignment gave me the chance to test that theory.
I enthusiastically dove into the task of creating my Twitter: I used my full name as my username in case I want to continue using my account after this assignment, started following websites and celebrities as well as my classmates, and tweeted almost every day. I found that I actually enjoyed checking my Twitter- I liked seeing real-time updates from news sites and magazines. I also enjoyed reading what my classmates posted. Following someone on Twitter is much different than being his/her friend on Facebook. The point of Twitter is to post status updates, so I wound up learning a lot more about what my classmates think about or what kind of activities I do. As a Facebook friend, Peter or Carl or Liza might not update their status that often or add to their profile, so I wouldn’t be learning anything more about any of them.
I found that Twitter is a great tool to use for surveillance. I checked my Twitter a few times a day so I was constantly in touch with what was happening with people. I am following 40 people on Twitter, so there were always new tweets being posted. I could easily find out what was happening with a classmate or a celebrity with one quick click.
I’ll admit that I haven’t thought too much about my privacy. I did use my full name as my username and gave my location as Brunswick, ME. I don’t think my tweets revealed too much about me- they showed what activities I liked, who I’m friendly with, and what times of day I dislike. My tweets are also public. I’m more lax about my privacy controls on Twitter than on Facebook for a few reasons. First, there are no pictures on my Twitter except for my profile picture. I don’t have to worry about family members or potential employers seeing an embarrassing or risqué photo. Second, the only “real” people I’m following/that are following me are my classmates. I don’t think any of them are going to post inappropriate messages that I wouldn’t want other people seeing. One privacy concern I did have is that random people could be looking at my profile. I did get two notifications that strangers were following me. I blocked them, so I’m grateful that Twitter notifies users when someone is following them.
I’ve had a positive experience with Twitter and will be continuing to use my account. My enthusiasm may wane once my classmates stop posting because much of the reason that I like Twitter is because I like getting to know them better. Hopefully more of my friends will join!