As a person who is not a Twitter-er, but chose to take this assignment out of interest, I must admit the whole culture of letting everyone know what you are doing at any given time kind of freaks me out. I mean sure, I update my status on Facebook, but the idea of “following” someone via a social networking site is a bit too Big Brother-ish for me. That being said, since I took this assignment, I have been amazed to find out how much Twitter is used.
As I left a mall in Austin, I was invited to “follow” it on Twitter, radio stations use it to promote their DJs, celebrity visitors and advisors, hotels, sports teams, schools and even my own mom has an account for her job. Twitter, an endeavor that, in my opinion, takes Facebook creeping to a whole new level, has nonetheless revolutionized the PR and social networking world.
As with any popular trend, there will always be those within the fad who go to the extreme. Following celebrities on Twitter could be a pastime on its own. The website, celebritytweet.com, makes it convenient to see all celebrity updates at the same time (which I might add is especially entertaining during awards season). This website features celebrities from Ceasar Milan (aka the Dog Whisper) with tweets such as, “Give your dogs rules, boundaries and limitations as well as love” and “Don’t allow your dog to live in fear” to Soulja Boy’s “Productive day, the hustle remains relentless” and Weird Al Yankovic’s “Just arrived at the Grammys. So embarrassed – Lady Gaga and I are wearing the exact same bubble outfit.”
Celebrities also use Twitter to address rumors, gripe or discuss current events. Aston Kutcher, who according to Twiterholic.com is the most followed person on the website, has a Twitter page full of tweets discussing events such as the earthquake in Haiti, the State of the Union Address and the Minnesota vs. New Orleans game. Chris Brown recently posted a tweet complaining that Wal-Mart did not have his new CD in stock, only later to be corrected by Wal-Mart employees who claimed the CD was just sold out at the time. Stephen Colbert’s most current tweet reads, “I’ve taken a long vacation…All I do is say funny things…And I’m thinking of raising my own salary…What am I a Senator?” After Heidi Montag reviled that she has had an absurd amount of plastic surgery, celebrities from Samantha Ronson to Dr. Drew took to Twitter to speak out about it. Even better, rapper Bow Wow took to Twitter to let the world know that he was drunk driving, “Face numb im whippin the lambo. Tipsy as f—.” And “I’m f—ed up!!! Ohhh damn. Y I drive the lambo.” Drunk tweeting puts drunk texting to shame.
Another example of tweeting at its most outrageous is the new book, Twitterature, that was written (if you can call it that) by 19-year-olds and claims to translate classic novels, such as Hamlet and The Great Gatsby, into 20 tweets with each tweet holding to the traditional Twitter standard of being 140 characters or less. Reviews of the book are mixed online and the quote on the cover of the book is from the Wall Street Journal and reads “Do you hear that? It is the sound of Shakespeare, rolling over in his grave.” Taken out of its light hearted context, Twitterature could be seen from a satirical point of view about how our generation has become all about instant connections and, in the process, we have both created and destroyed languages and cultures. Either way, for those who have actually read the classic books that Twitterature covers, it should be an interesting read.
What began as a simple social networking cite to keep “followers” aware of what others are up to, it has become an icon of our generation’s society. Twitter has revolutionized how we communicate, the way we do business worked to close the gap between celebrities and fans, and in the process has created its own culture. Soon the popular social site may face the same fate as Xanga or Myspace, especially when people begin to tire or begin to realize the stupidity of reporting their every thought and action to world, but as for now the Twitter craze treks on. Happy Tweeting.