Not since the miniaturizing of the cell phone has the world seen such a significant life changing creation as experienced with Twitter. The microblogging site has enabled average citizens to broadcast real time news; live tweets during events; and create instant scandal among the rich and famous. Like the cell phone, it is hard to imagine living without Twitter’s bluebird of information.
Adults who never had a cell phone in their lives now refuse to leave home without one. Twitter, which used to be the subject of much derision from the world’s intellectual elite, now is one of the most used networking tools by the same academics who hooted at it in the beginning. Much was made of the uselessness of having a 140 character limit on the information that you could relate.
Critics of the new social network also hated that it was not much of a “to-and-fro” type of social interaction. Twitter, when it first started, was more about relaying information. Especially from celebrities. Fans loved to read their star’s tweets; where they were eating; who they were seeing; and what they were working on.
Twitter celebs soon had large numbers of followers, aka fans. Ashton Kutcher was the first celebrity to garner a follower number of one million. Beating out Britney Spears and news site CNN, Kutcher became the first Hollywood glitterati who really understood the power of Twitter.
It was entertaining to read your favorite actor’s or actress’s tweets and thereby living their daily lives vicariously via the 140 character Twitter feed. However exciting that was, the site soon became the place to look for “real-time” news, live tweets; from events or actors during a run of their latest episode; or instant scandal. TWitter’s bluebird has captivated users since it first arrived. Its many uses soon became evident.
It was live news that first proved that the microblogging site had worth as an on-the-spot reporting tool. At the Las Vegas Guardian Express, a keen eye saw a tweet from a young man hiding under a cinema seat in Colorado at the Batman Shootings. Other tweets soon followed from the terrified theatre goer and a clear picture was painted of what was happening as the tragedy unfolded, in real time.
Television networks learned the value of utilizing both Facebook and Twitter in gathering news across the globe. One of the first places to hear of the Boston Marathon Bombings was Twitter. The site is not all about news though. It is also about publicity for television shows or events. When Breaking Bad was AMC’s most popular television program, the network soon realized the value of “live tweeting.”
Live tweets were posted on the actor’s Twitter account while episodes were airing. It enabled the fans to get really invested in the shows and with the actors playing their roles. It also increased the “second screen” that both networks and studios grew to love. This further amplification of the show via Twitter increased viewing numbers and amped the fans enthusiasm to a fever pitch.
Other programs and networks have adopted the live tweet system. The Walking Dead, also an AMC product, uses live tweeting as well as other popular shows on television. Although, no other program benefited more from live tweets than the SyFy channel. When the network prepared to air their production of Sharknado, in July this year, Twitter turned into a tweeting frenzy of humorous one liners and poking fun at the film.
Because of these live tweets, which saw 111,000 people tweeting 318,232 times during the broadcast, Topsy Pro reported that at one point during the made-for-TV film’s airing, tweets per minute hit 5,010. The TV movie was not Jaws by any stretch of the imagination, but the schlocky film did quite well in the Nielsen ratings because of the Twitter campaign.
Celebrities got into the act with stars like Mia Farrow, Seth Myers and Erin Andrews tweeting their take on the movie. Since Twitter started with celebrities loving the instantaneous and succinct nature of the social media site, it is only fitting to end with them.
To list all the celebs who have gotten the wrong end of the tweet, would take days, if not months. That could be the mentally disturbed Amanda Bynes’ Twitter activity alone that fill pages. This troubled former Nickelodeon star keep Twitter full of her bizarre tweets and rants. Dubbing anyone who annoyed her as Ugly and “tweeting herself” at recording artist Drake, fans of Amanda followed her increasingly strange tweets avidly.
But Bynes was not the only celebrity to use Twitter in a bizarre fashion. Chris Brown, another recording artist, has gone on the site to tweet some very homophobic tweets. Glenn Beck caused a storm when he favorited a white supremacist group’s tweet and then deleted all his favorited tweets and never explained how it came to be that he “liked” a racist type tweet.
Ashton Kutcher, he of the first million Twitter club, embarrassed himself when he tweeted support for Penn State football coach Joe Paterno after he was fired over allegations of sexual abuse in the school’s athletic program. After Ashton found out why the coach was fired, he tweeted his apologies. Perhaps the first case of “tweet in mouth disease” from a celebrity Twitter feed.
There are many more scandalous tweets from the rich and famous, not least of which is the photo of his genitals that Anthony Weiner tweeted to a 21 year-old female on Twitter. This little bit of self promotion caused an uproar and Weiner resigned from congress after flashing his “weiner” on the microblogging site.
Things have changed in the world of Twitter since it first became a fascinating new toy for the glitterati of the world. The site has evolved into the hangout of businesses, entrepreneurs, and sales agents. Advertising via Twitter is a billion dollar business as tweets are used to increase Jane and John Q. Public’s awareness of brands, companies, and items for sale.
In that respect, Twitter does resemble Facebook, although, the older social networking site is much more intrusive with their advertising. Twitter just allows advertisers to tweet about their products versus plastering them all over the site. Similar to Facebook, Twitter decided to have an IPO and their debut into the world of stocks netting a 73 percent increase in share prices which started at $26 but after the dust settled at the end of the day, worked out to $44.90.
While financial experts debate the day’s monetary figures around the “sale” of Twitter, the issue of the microblogging site’s use remains the same. It is the best avenue existing for real-time news reporting, live tweeting to drive up Nielsen ratings, and instant scandal by the many celebrities, on top of the rich and famous, or public figures like politicians. This “fad,” as it was termed when the Twitter bluebird first made its appearance, has become an irreplaceable part of everyday life. At least till something new comes along.
By Michael Smith