In recent times, Twitter famously referred to as a ‘Microblogging Platform’ has emerged as one of the most powerful voices on the internet. People, all over the world, whether it be individual citizens, celebrities, politicians, world leaders, and sportsmen have taken to Twitter as a medium in which important announcements are communicated, decisions are conveyed, and important changes are monitored.
In this article, we look at some of the reasons that have made Twitter as a vehicle of emancipation for millions all over the world. We also look at reasons that differentiate the modus operandi of Twitter in comparison to Facebook, Instagram, and other prominent social media platforms.
If you casually glance at some of the keyword suggestions that Google shows you when you type- ‘How Twitter….’, some of the top suggestions that would pop up are- ‘How Twitter changed the world,’ ‘How Twitter changed Politics’. ‘How Twitter changed Journalism,’ and so on. The subject matter of this article looks at Twitter as not only a powerful tool or medium for change, but also tries to analyze the factors, along with future prospects of the ‘Twitterverse’ (a take on Twitter’s Universe).
Twitter News Consumption and Hashtag Activism:
After nearly thirteen years of being in operation, Twitter has an estimated 350-400 Million users all over the world. If you compare the user base with a social behemoth like Facebook, which has more than 1.5 billion people, chances are that you might think of Twitter as one of the smaller fishes.
However, Twitter’s attraction lies in its democratic appeal, it lies in its being the premium channel of communication chosen by journalists, celebrities and politicians. The task of imparting critical information in 140 characters or less, struck a chord with a world, who wanted to be conscious, and aware, but did not want to be bombarded with content.
Revolutions, wars, human right abuses, treaties, Br-exits, and world-changing events have powered Twitter, and Twitter has likewise powered them. Whether it was the Arab Spring, De-militarisation in North Korea, Problems of Dictatorship in South America, or #MeToo, the influence and role played by Twitter in such mega life-altering events cannot be underestimated.
Twitterverse is Free, Twitterati is Unpretentious:
If we are to compare Twitter from other social media platforms in terms of authenticity, credibility, and non-pretentiousness, there is a consensus on Twitter being the most credible and genuine amongst others. While we are not saying that we should ignore one of the biggest criticisms of the platform, that of spreading misinformation and fake news, we feel that as compared to Facebook, Twitter has come down far more heavily on such content and profiles.
People are freer on Twitter. Celebrities, Politicians, Sportspersons, Businessmen, and other people of repute take to Twitter to freely express their opinions on a range of issues. Whether it is gun control foreign relations, abortion debates, sexual harassment, black lives matter, or other important issues, prompt actions on Twitter through Tweets have had far-reaching implications.
One of the best current examples that we can share with you is of the current American President, Mr. Donald Trump. Several of his critics point to the fact that while Trump continues to deride the media, he freely tweets about almost everything under the sun. We feel that by tweeting directly to his constituency, and not speaking through the media, President Trump and his team have engineered a political masterstroke (If you feel otherwise, please feel free to comment in the comments section).
Twitter and Brands: It is All About Relationships:
All social media platforms have become channels that have established two-way communication between brands and people. However, Twitter is leading the race in its effectiveness of action. It has become by far the fastest channel of direct communication between brands and consumers.
Brands have started using Twitter to engineer faster, more credible and direct relationships with consumers. Troubleshooting is often the most sought after the action, followed by announcements and releases.
Again, Twitter has democratized access and enabled a direct channel of communication. Global brands want to earn the title of being ‘The Most Responsive Brand on Twitter’, as it goes a long way in establishing credibility, customer loyalty, and relationships. This creates an element of trust, and also makes the consumers feel wanted, important and demonstrates that the brand cares about its consumers.
Twitter and the Birth of the Digital Democratic Citizen:
Intellectuals, behaviorists, tech companies, and other interested groups are discussing for quite some time, as to who or what is a ‘Digital Democratic Citizen’? In our understanding, a democratic digital citizen is an empowered, conscious, socially aware and confident human being.
His ideal habitat- Twitter, of course. His arsenal of choice- 140 characters that include tagging someone or something that should be responsible, or should take action. Some critics point out that we might be over-emphasizing the role played by Twitter as a vehicle of change. They point to internet trolls, who use the platform to spread hatred and disharmony.
However, no matter how hard any critic tries, they cannot deny the fact, that Twitter has helped and continues to help millions. A case study from India and Indian Railways is a testament to that. A woman had tweeted the Railway Minister that her friend who was travelling on a train was suffering from severe menstrual cramps. The Minister’s team immediately responded, and a medical practitioner boarded the train at the next station with sanitary napkins, mild painkillers, and a hot water bag.
Is Twitter Becoming One-dimensional?
When social media platforms had started their operations, they were multi-dimensional in terms of serving all sections, all categories. However, after several years of them being in existence, nearly all social media platforms have found their niche.
For Twitter, the niche is ‘Social’. However much, people or Twitter users want to doubt that, we strongly feel that Twitter has captured a particular aspect of our lives, it has become a social vehicle, and in coming years, it will continue to play that role effectively.
Twitter has taken ownership of its role, and we feel that it is the right thing to do. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey recently spoke about how Twitter is trying to tackle the problem of paid political advertising on its platform. Twitter continues to provide excellent literature on its blog about political transparency. It has also launched the ATC (Ads Transparency Centre), in its bid to make the platform more transparent and equal.
Twitter: The Final Word:
A vehicle of change, engineering social emancipation and giving words to the feelings of the exploited and the downtrodden- that’s Twitter! (140 Words)