Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The little birdie

Sania recently suggested that I should get on Twitter, given the amount of traveling I would be doing as part of my internship. Nor was she the first to suggest it. I dithered for long, unwilling to get on yet another social network platform and leaving another trail of footprints online. But I decided to give it a shot anyway and so now I’m tweeting – I swear I never expected to be using a verb like that!

It amazes me how much you can say in 140 characters. Or how little for that matter. It also amazes me how much you can do with a medium like that. For starters, I can follow friends who decide to tweet when they’re stuck in traffic in NYC. Or I could follow those that decide to backpack across Europe. I could have followed Brin but he stopped tweeting! Jokes apart, what has me totally amazed is how Twitter has catapulted to this super important status in the backdrop of the turmoil in Iran (here's what I'm talking about). There is a wealth of information from the ground that is being broadcasted on the net by ordinary citizens, where journalists are no longer permitted. As an ex-techie, my thoughts go immediately to information security – does this mean that corporations would have to install cell phone signal-jammers in the meeting room and disconnect the internet during confidential market-influencing discussions? What does that do to the rights and freedoms of people? As we innovate, we seem to push the boundaries of our laws and societies further, exposing all the loopholes.

It must be a sign of times that corporations are quick to get on the bandwagon. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, in the hope and anticipation that more eyeballs or ears would translate to more sales. And that is driving corporations to find ways to monetize the platform. Google’s revenue from sponsored links is the best case in point. It’s brilliant how companies that create products for people indirectly create platforms for other companies, an important feature of this ultra connected world that we live in.

Just like blogging and maybe even Facebook to some extent, Twitter seems to follow in the footsteps of satisfying the narcissist inside us. Judging by how many subscribers each of these media have, it seems like everyone who is anyone feels the need to have her voice heard. In all the white noise we’re generating, it is getting harder to sift out the voices of substance. Our willingness to embrace technology results in the cup overflowing and being just another source of information spam that despite our good sense, we feel the obsessive need to log in and check every day… while somewhere in the world, another college drop out is on his/her way to millionaire-hood and potentially a place in HBR’s next 30 page case!


JulyDream said...

Not only is it our voices being heard, but people are also listening. It's a strange paradox - chicken or the egg - do we write because we want to feel important? Or do we write because readers were already there?

Great post lady!! :D

MechaniGal said...

Thanks and great comment P!

I've wondered that too - who are we writing for? I feel like sometimes we blur the lines between the chicken and the egg in this situation.

miss wabbit said...

Most people get the whole "writing" thing wrong and use Twitter to make their lives public, or worse, live a cyber life of sorts. But if you see the way Twitter is serving as a medium of discussion wrt the Iran Elections,Susan Boyle (oh yes she is important!!) and Air France 447, it is quite amazing. It truly takes searching and sharing information to a whole new level. So I think we write to reach out, to have ourselves heard. And, in the process, find someone who shares or has a similar opinion.

miss wabbit said...

And btw i wanted to write about something titled- 'adding a new meaning to "a little birdie told me..." ' myself actually!I'm sure that's where the Twitter symbol and "tweeting" came up from :)

Adriano Maesano said...

I'm working with Social Media and am convinced that Twitter is a great tool for companies and people to promote themselves, much faster and easier than other tools.
I hope you have a great time back in India, and will keep following your blog, and hopefully yout tweets :)


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