Why I love Twitter
Twitter is such a universal tool. It’s a platform that can be completely moulded according to what you are interested in. When I started tweeting, I was interested in politics. I followed politicians, news sources and as many political hacks as I could find. One year and a thorough disenchantment with politics later, I now follow journalists, YouTube stars, news organisations and radio stations. Oh, and celebrities. Let’s not forget the celebrities.
One of the best things about Twitter is that it makes so many people so much more accessible. Remember the days when to tell a superstar you loved them, you had to write a letter to their fanclub (knowing they would probably never see it)? Now all you have to do is send them a tweet (with the similar knowledge that they may never see it, due to management companies or sheer volume).
Negatives like management controlled accounts and ignored, desperate ‘at replies’ aside, Twitter is the true modern day representation of the public Sphere. Habermas’ ideology always confused me before Twitter, as I saw no way a global conversation space could exist. Then Jack Dorsey created one.
A very important social function of Twitter that is often overlooked is the ability to make public figures more visible and therefore, more accountable. A notable example is the ‘SOPA Ireland’ saga with @seansherlockTD. A vicious Twitter campaign was launched under the hashtags #resignseansherlock and #stopSOPAireland, encouraging ‘Keyboard Warriors’ to email, tweet and meet their TDs. While it may not have translated into a physical resignation, it showed a marked change in how we communicate with our public figures. The law was amended, despite Sherlock’s signature, and frightened politicans branded circa 80,000 Irish people ‘vandals’ for mass emailing their TDs.
There are many deep, intelligent reasons why we should, and do, love Twitter. The public sphere idea, making celebrities more accessible, making politicians more accountable. But the main reason I love it is that it gives me an outlet for all those thoughts that would have made the status update before updating your status too much became ‘uncool’. Twitter has no rules. Some people try to complain that people ‘tweet too much’ but there’s always one who has to ruin all the fun, isn’t there?