By MELISSA PILEIRO
A few years ago, the Internet buzzword was “Myspace.” Not long after, it seemed like every college kid in America was getting a Facebook page. Today, the website of the moment is Twitter, and it’s spreading faster than many of its competitors. The secret might be that while social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook tend to attract only young students, Twitter is intriguing just about everyone. Huge media corporations like the BBC and CNN have it, as do many popular celebrities and even politicians.
The sudden incredible popularity of Twitter has left many people on the outside asking one question: what is it, anyway? Put simply, Twitter’s purpose is to answer the simple question “what are you doing?” in 140 characters or less, about the same amount of space allowed for text messages.
Yup, that’s all there is to it.
So what’s the appeal? For most, it’s a way to keep in touch with family, friends, or colleagues without the clutter and busyness of other social networking sites. The length of individual messages, called “tweets,” is short enough for readers to get all the information they need without having to dig through photos, quizzes, and other friends.
For the media, Twitter adds an interesting new dimension to the way news is exchanged. When the Internet first started to gain momentum in the 90s, journalism was revolutionized as the day’s news no longer needed to wait for evening. Twitter is a step up from this almost-immediate gratification that news websites provide. Twitter can be used to post breaking news headlines long before a story is written.
Naysayers believe that Twitter does little more than support personal narcissism. Using the site might leave your friends wondering why you felt the need to tweet “having my morning cup of coffee” or “going to class.” However, those that use it typically have very specific reasons for tweeting, and are thankful that they can keep others informed in a quick, concise way.
You can follow The Voice on Twitter, too! Check us out at http://www.twitter.com/cccvoice.