Welcome to Twitterville – The world just got smaller (again) !!!
Welcome to a quaint world I call ‘Twitterville’ – a world that consists of the bazillion people who tweet and share information ..140 characters at a time. I can’t say that if Gautama Buddha lived in our times today he would be using twitter but I can certainly say with some degree of confidence that HE certainly would be amazed by the social revolution called ‘Twitter Mania’.
I fact when I tell my colleagues and managers that I tweet and blog as a part of my course at UC Berkeley, they usually respond in one of two ways. While some sing peons of the social media revolution we are currently experiencing …the others display emotions of bewilderment, shock and fear of all things world-wide-webish..Twitter included.
I agree with Steven Johnson (TIME magazine article – How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live) that Twitter makes a terrible first impression. However if you overlook its gawky first impression, you would be amazed at the simplicity with which it facilitates its millions of users to send 140 character updates to their followers at real time. As millions of twitterattis have discovered, Twitter turns out to have unsuspected depth. Apart from finding status updates of your followers about some very mundane things strangely satisfying , Twitter has managed to do things things that its creators never dreamed of. What seems most astounding is the fact that Twitter isn’t about what it offers us ..rather it’s about what we, the twitteratti are doing to it!!
Look around you at the recent set of events..be it Michael Jackson’s sudden death or the political debacle in Iran. They are tweets that litterally shook the world. The site undoubtedly played a vital role in spreading the story from inside Iran to the outside world, as thousands of web users and mobile phone addicts passed on messages and pictures documenting events as and when they took place.
As Bobby Johnson of the Gaurdian UK stated, it is easy to overestimate Twitter’s value inside Iran, where word of mouth, phone calls and text messages were almost certainly more important in helping to organize rallies. However, it was Twitter’s that was responsible for making this story global and very real through its continuous status updates by its users.
Strange but true, in a few years from now, when historians reflect on the time we are currently living in, the names Biz Stone and Evan Williams (the co-creators of Twitter) will be referenced side by side with the likes of Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Guglielmo Marconi, Philo Farnsworth, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
The truth is that the creation of Twitter and its impending revolution into a social networking behemoth akin to Facebook is as significant and paradigm-shifting as the invention of Morse code, the telephone, radio, television or the personal computer.
In a ocean of Web 2.0 technologies, Twitter has indeed made the world a smaller place (again). It’s not just another triumph of web 2.0 that has revolutionalized the way we live nor is it just a technological prowess. Rather, I’d like to use it as a metaphor for ‘A social revolution spelt in 140 characters’.