Tweeting Becoming the New Facebook

By Alessandra LaMastro
The Minstrel

A social networking site such as Facebook is deemed as a resource that is “a social utility which allows people who work, study, and live around the same area to connect.” In addition to this Facebook phenomenon, Myspace, a site to “find friends and classmates, meet new people, listen to music, share photos, and watch videos,” is available for anyone to sign up. And now, the latest addition is a site called Twitter. This site is described on its page as a “free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time.”

On twitter, one can broadcast very short messages—140 characters, max—to anyone who signed up to receive them. The site includes “followers” of your blog, (similar to friends on Facebook). Followers may include family members or friends from high school or college. According to David Pogue of the New York Times, “if you are Barack Obama, 254, 484 followers will be on your site. And incidentally, he hasn’t sent out a single Twitter message since he has been in office.”

There are many reasons as to why someone would want a Twitter page, and it is all in how the page is used. Evan Williams, chief executive and co-founder of Twitter, stated in The New York Times: “Twitter, in other words, is precisely what you want it to be. It can be a business tool, a teenage time-killer, a research assistant, a news source—whatever. There are no rules, or at least none that apply equally well to everyone.”

Deborah Burrows, professor of the arts and humanities at DeSales, uses Twitter to keep in contact with her family and friends.

“It’s instantaneous and short, very concise sentences. I like it because it is really quick. When I don’t have time or the mindset to deal with the other stuff that comes along on Facebook, I use Twitter. And now that Facebook has changed its page, I hate it. It is more confusing, and Twitter is simple,” Burrows said.

Many people use the site to stay in contact with friends and blog, where others use it for professional reasons.

Natalia Brophy, communication major, explains the reasons she uses the website: “I do a lot of blogging (as a hobby and professionally) and I found out about Twitter from my fellow bloggers. I use it as a marketing tool to promote my websites and blogs. It is a very effective way to bring traffic to my sites.”

One difference between Twitter and other bloging sites such as Myspace and Facebook is revenue. According the Michael Liedtke of USA Today: “Revenue raises questions about whether the nearly 3-year-old service can make the leap from intriguing fad to sustainable business. Twitter intends to start testing ways to make money this spring. Williams promises it won’t drive away the more than 6 million people who have set up accounts on the unconventional communications network.”

Burrows mentioned: “If Twitter were to use advertisements for revenue, it would not bother me at all. To tell you the truth, oddly enough, I look at the advertisements. I just don’t want all this other stuff—these quizzes, these ‘water balloon things’, these ‘here’s your green garden things.’ Its all fluff.”

Although Twitter might be seen as just another blogging tool, or another invasive, unnecessary site to use in order to find out what others are doing, ask yourself this question: to tweet or not to tweet?

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