Wednesday, March 4, 2009

@TweetThis!: Twitter is the Future

Well, not according to a Prince article a few days ago:

"Tweets are, to the eye of this novice, different in nature from Facebook status updates. I have not yet seen a cussword on Twitter, and most of the updates are of a promotional nature. For example, one fellow twitterer only posts comments that tell others about an impressive activity he has completed or an article he has written... Facebook is your personal life and Twitter is your resume."

As Tweeter myself, let me inform you: There is a burgeoning Twitter culture on campus. I know because (and I have no shame!) I'm a part of it. While what it describes certainly does exist, Twitter is a bit different that Facebook or a resumé. I'd like to take you through a brief tour of Twitter at Princeton. But, before I get ahead of myself, a brief history.

I started "tweeting" (God, that sounds rather vulgar), over the summer while I was living in LA. Iphoneless and often wifi-less, I hardly touched the thing. But, something happened this semester. It started slowly. I would receive one or two emails a week, " SoandSo is now following you on Twitter." Unlike the first followers I had attracted, I actually knew these people. Several of them were alums living in Chicago, Seattle, New York - but some of them were on campus. Some were Princetonians abroad who wanted to keep their followers up to date on their every movements (and sometimes, their safety, as proven by a friend studying abroad who was "near" a bombing last week).

Twitter is a different culture than Facebook. Firstly, it's socially acceptable to post multiple status updates a day, (though it can get somewhat annoying, as one of my friends from the city has proven to me, if you post more than five per day. Seriously. I don't really care about the minutia of your life THAT much). Secondly, it doesn't have to be promotional, or even sensical. Sometimes post are even mildly vulgar.

For example, one person I follow wrote this morning:

Person1: I slept until 9. Shoot.

I replied, (which you can do by typing @Person1:)

@Person1: Slept 'til 11:56. Beat you.

At other times, Twitter seems, more than anything else, like a stream of a collective consciousness.

Person2: I just used "grapes are fun" in conversation.

or, Person2 @ Person3: There was Tortilla Soup at Cafe Viv two days ago. I got it and thought of you.

or even, Person4: Didn't realize Twitter was getting so popular.

In conclusion, maybe Twitter hasn't reached a tipping point yet. Maybe you have to be an internet junkie like myself. Maybe you have to have an iphone, (using the mobile version- Twitterific!) I only currently follow 18 people at Princeton, but I know that there are more of us out there. I've seen them out there (and chosen not to follow them as I don't know them). Either way, I know one thing for sure: Twitter is not just for old people like John McCain. Twitter is the future. And you should probably join.


Mick H said... could you write an article on twitter and not share your twitter name? :)

Cool post. Hope twitter catches on at Princeton.