Friday, March 16, 2007

Qotw 7: What is Twitter?

No I do not consider Twitter an online community. Twitter consists of individual opinions. No two people shares the same interests or hobbies. When I logged in today, a man said that he was interested in dancing. Twitter is just a message board for people to post shout-outs and what they are doing at the moment. A person may just post ‘hello to so-and-so’. This comment may not be directed at anyone on Twitter, which I know because random things were mentioned. I just joined, so I did not know what was going on. A community does not make new members feel odd and out of place.

Fernback and Thompson (1995) found that “disagreement together…and obligation or…. together and one” form the notion of community. I agree with this viewpoint on what a community should be. An online community should be able to group together for a common cause, like a WELL user who talked about how many kind souls there were who encouraged him not to feel down about his daughter’s illness (Catalfo, 1993). A user would feel the empathy of others who shared his depression, or his joy upon accomplishing some feat. Twitter does not make one feel this way.

Just like on Internet Relay Chat’s description, Twitter users convey virtual “squeezes”or “hugs”. “Textual cues” are the only hints to what people say. One does not really feel inclined to sympathize or know the other people in depth.
On the other hand, a community gives people a chance to open themselves up, like counseling services. There is opportunity and room for people who would not open up or ask for much-needed help (Cullen, 1995). Drug addicts and people who are suicide-intended fall into this category. The elderly also turn to forums and conferencing for companionship with others outside (Wellman& Gulia, 1996). These latter groups of people would not want to discuss their pain and loneliness on Twitter, which is more like a happy messaging board on the latest updates.

Twitter is more of a “microblog”, which is what Ali-Hassan Noor (2006) discusses. It does not give the need for you to update regularly. You can update as infrequently as two months. Another blogger, Mitch Joel, says that updating can also be a way to let you know about the latest posting on someone’s page, functions as an RSS feed. He uses Twitter for “It’s another way to let other know what you’re up to… right now” (Joel 2007). The insight may be too personal, like a person commenting on what he is eating, or doing in the toilet right now.

Fernback J and Thompson,B. (1995) Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure?.
Retrieved Mar 16,2007 from

Noor, Ali-Hassan (2007) Microblogging. The Desert of my dreams.
Retrieved Mar 16, 2007 from

Joel, Mitch (2007) Twitter Is To Blogging What Post-It Notes Are To Notebooks. Retrieved Mar 16, 2007 from

Wellman and Gulia (1996). Netsurfers don’t ride alone. Retrieved Mar 16,2007 from

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