According to many media sites teens are leaving their prior social application of choice, Facebook, and signing up to Twitter, with the possible result of changing the face of their new networking site. Proof that the micro blogging site is undergoing a certain amount of evolutionary change is apparent from reading the news or Twitter.
Media sites have been reporting that a teen posted a tweet where she “threatened” American Airlines. Over the weekend, a 14 year-old girl named “Sarah” posted a tweet on the flight carriers Twitter feed saying that she was from “Al Qaida” and that she was planning “something big.” Apart from sounding like a reference to the 1971 Dean Martin film, the phrase also sounded very threatening to American Airlines.
The airlines immediately responded by saying that they took these type of tweets seriously and that they were contacting the F.B.I., Sarah immediately “panicked” and tweeted back that not only was she not from the terrorist organization, but she was a “white girl,” as well.
In two short tweets, the “teen” went from pranking to racism. The amount of attention that this terrorist threat generated on the Internet was amazing. So many people on Twitter retweeted the tweet that the “teen” garnered a lot of new followers as a result. The account was, however, cancelled even after getting a record amount of new Twitter followers.
The fact that more teenagers, aka young people, are using Twitter more than Facebook can be verified by looking at the latest scandals to hit the microblogging site. In March this year, Long Island teens were posting Instagram snaps on an anonymous Twitter account, with the handle of @LIPartyStories, which featured underage drinking and stripping as well as passing out along with underage “sexual” activity.
These two instances of “incorrect” usage of Twitter by teens shows a clear evolvement of the application. Changing from a celebrity heavy, and faddish, microblogging site into a place where kids feel, once again, that they’re having fun without parents looking over their metaphorical shoulders.
This was a clear indicator that America’s youth are enjoying a break from the social network of Facebook. The site used to be the clear domain of youth. When Facebook started out it was too complex, too annoying and too modern for Mom and Dad to get involved with it which made it a great place to hangout for the younger members of society.
Unfortunately, as the social networking site began catering to older users of the Internet, kids starting looking out for a new place that the older generation just, “did not understand.” With that parameter being the most important factor is finding a replacement to the now “old” Facebook, Twitter seemed tailor made for younger users.
From the outset, Twitter has confused the older generation, as well as those folks who really don’t get the allure of creating posts of 140 characters or less. In the beginning, celebs were the ultimate users of this new creation. It was a chance to interact with other celebrities, fans, colleagues (that were not necessarily famous) and other “high calibre” users.
Certain celebs were not too enamoured with this new “mini” version of Facebook, although quite a number have gone on to join Twitter in an effort to seem “with it” and relevant. Others took to the new microblogging site like a duck to water and have earned millions of followers by just being entertaining with their tweets. Although being famous doesn’t hurt.
Real folks have taken longer to discover that not only is Twitter good for business, but it gives mere mortals the chance to mingle with, or get tweets from celebrities who would never acknowledge their presence in the real world.
Twitter’s changing face as a social networking application is not just down to teens joining the ranks of tweeters. It is also moving forward as the more “hip” – to use a Mad Men, type phrase – than the recipe heavy Facebook. After all, it would be impossible to tweet in 140 characters how to bake peanut butter cookies. Of course there is no real reason to even try as long as the Girl Scouts continue to flog the delicious treats annually.
By Michael Smith