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On March 21, 2011, the Internet sensation,Twitter celebrated its five-year anniversary. I can still remember back in high school when people were first starting to buzz about this new distraction.
‘Hey, have you heard about Twitter? You can send tweets to people.’ ‘Oh really? That sounds pretty dumb.’
Even if it is ridiculous, Twitter has caught on with 200 million users worldwide and it’s said to be worth about $4.5 billion. Basically, when you sign up for Twitter, you can pick a username, follow other users and send ‘tweets.’ A tweet is defined as a “short burst of inconsequential information” and can only be 140 characters in length.
In my opinion, Twitter is just like any other Internet distraction that is slowly taking over our lives, just as Facebook and YouTube have. We are spending our valuable time following celebrities who we don’t know and tweeting our friends instead of actually talking to them in real life.
However, each of these virtual distractions has its advantages. Twitter is different from Facebook because you’re not just looking at what your friends are doing this weekend. If something big recently happened, such as an engagement or winning a contest, you can send a tweet and all of your followers will instantly know. New stories, such as natural disasters and political developments, can arrive in tweets through the people you choose to follow. Also, politicians and business owners can send tweets directly to their customers through immediate ads and answers. I guess its safe to say that Twitter does have some positive aspects about it. But, how much of the useful information about the world is actually received by most users?
Twitter was originally supposed to be used for global news and emergencies.
However, as its popularity grew, so did the influence of the media, celebrities and pop culture. The people with the most followers are Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, with Barack Obama in fourth place. If this doesn’t say where our culture’s interests lie, I don’t know what does.
I do not have a Twitter because, honestly, I don’t need another distraction. If I need to say something to my friend quickly, I will text them. If I need to know about a news story, I will look it up online. Of course, people choose their own distractions, and Twitter may just be a fun way to communicate in our lightning-fast culture. The co-founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, explains it perfectly when he says, “Who ever said things have to be useful?”