Written by Miakela Santini
CW’s breakout hit Gossip Girl is a drama of opulent high school students, narrated by an omniscient, but anonymous “Gossip Girl”. With satirical text-message, she keeps her subscribers up to date on all the latest of New York’s socialite. The episodes were hugely popular and raved about by teens and college students of both genders.
The idea of immediately accessible gossip intrigues many Americans, “Gossip Girl” fans or not. In many ways, this power has filtered down from Upper East Siders and teen dramas, and now everyone can become “Gossip Girl” with social, Internet networks. One of newest gossip-machines is Twitter.
According to the New York Times, “It’s one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” Its website says, “Twitter is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. Started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.”
Available for access on the computer or cell-phones, Twitter-ers can let everyone know what’s going on in 140 characters, every second of every day. However, Twitter puts a spin on the Gossip Girl story. Instead of reading the hottest updates on others, you give what’s hot (or what’s not) about yourself and follow your friends as they do the same.
From the Twitter website: “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”
Gone are the days when you morn over seclusion in an office; demand your friends to follow where you are and what you are doing. But watch out! Make sure you follow your Twitter-pals and leave replies, or they may not do the same for you.
This scenario may sound all-too-familiar for Facebook and MySpace users. The “Update” tool in these social networks, as many of us know, reads: “What are you doing right now.” (That’s “what arrr ye doin’ right now?” in Facebook Pirate Language).
However, Twitter appeals to a different user than other sites. Twitter’s users are more frequently people working in offices. Just as MySpace reaches across the great divide of clicks in high school and Facebook provides for the waning social life of college students, Twitter’s design meets the needs of busy corporate employees.
The site is simple enough for the most time-crunched person, or the most technologically impaired. With only two main pages (which are as redundant as Facebook’s Name page and Home page), it would be hard to get lost in Twitter. It is perfect for those who cannot waste time sifting through albums, events, invitations and applications.
Twitter addresses the legitimate question, what are those crazy applications for anyways? It responds to the social concern that we only really want to know where you are and what you’re doing. The website explains its purpose: “Why? Because even basic updates are meaningful to family members, friends, or colleagues—especially when they’re timely. Eating soup? Research shows that moms want to know. Running late to a meeting? Your co–workers might find that useful. Partying? Your friends may want to join you.”
This proves that not only is Twitter social and fun, it could save your job.
Wired quotes that the site is “Incredibly useful.”
Not convince? Even Nicholas Carr, author and technologist said, “Twitter is the telegraph system of Web 2.0.”
Not only can you keep up with acquaintances, Twitter also has a search database where you can view updates of any Twitter user on any issue. The search tool will take any keyword and find all the latest updates that contain your word, loading all the newest as you view the site. No word is impossible for this search. From “Lonely boy” to “Queen Bee,” if you want it, you’ll find it.
One hot search result is Election 08. Updates with political keywords scroll like Star Wars movie credits down the blog page.
Their site explain the process: “We’re filtering hundreds of Twitter updates per minute to create a new source for gathering public opinion about the election and a new way for you to share your thoughts.”
Really, what better place to read the concerns of everyday Americans and be persuaded by intriguing arguments and intellectual viewpoints? All one line, keep in mind.
But Twitter has even more versatile uses than gossip, saving your job and keeping in touch with the latest issues; it can also help you sell your stuff. Think of it, a garage sale on your cell phone. Just a few examples of the hundreds of items being sold from the updates status include, iphones, homes, puppies, and people. As one anonymous user said, “I’m for sale. Direct message me with your offer”).
Twitter invites new users with the following: “The New York Times calls Twitter ’one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.’ TIME Magazine says, ‘Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app,’ and Newsweek noted that ‘Suddenly, it seems as though all the world’s a-twitter.’ What will you think?”
Think of a networking basis that keeps you hyper-involved with your friends, your family, your world. Think of receiving updates from your stepbrother 150 miles away telling you that he’s eating a sandwich. As Gossip Girl would say, “Spotted: A generation caught in the web of gossip and updates.”