Monday, February 21, 2011

Twitter, tweets and twits

Aside from the pointless babble that dominates the micro blogging site we know as Twitter, it's fair to say that the Iranian presidential election protests of 2009 were both a clear and pronounced demonstration of the value of Twitter as a quasi news network. As Time put it:

After the election in Iran, cries of protest from supporters of opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi arose in all possible media, but the loudest cries were heard in a medium that didn't even exist the last time Iran had an election ... Twitter practically ideal for a mass protest movement, both very easy for the average citizen to use and very hard for any central authority to control. The same might be true of e-mail and Facebook, but those media aren't public. They don't broadcast, as Twitter does. On June 13, when protests started to escalate, and the Iranian government moved to suppress dissent both on- and off-line, the Twitterverse exploded with tweets from people who weren't having it, both in English and in Farsi. While the front pages of Iranian newspapers were full of blank space where censors had whited-out news stories, Twitter was delivering information from street level, in real time ...
But I cannot help but cringe when hearing of anyone who would choose to tweet what would otherwise be intimate or personal details. This is especially so when celebrities choose to do this. As a Melbourne Age reader recently put it:
I remain mystified as to why anyone, much less highly recognisable celebrities, would choose to tweet intimate details of their private lives in a world of strangers. But I'm grateful to my Oxford dictionary for giving me a clue; one meaning of the verb "twitter" is explained as to "talk rapidly in a idle or trivial way". Now I need to look up the noun "twit" and I'm sure all will be revealed.
 Take a bow Judith Caine of Donvale Victoria.