Clay Shirky on Twitter and the social media revolution

The simplicity of Twitter, of course, is its genius. It has the power to do so much by doing so little. But that’s not the only thing that’s simple about Twitter. The service itself was only intended to share 140-character messages with the world. Its significance is its evolution. Everything from @replying and retweeting to using hashes and symbols can be attributed to the users. It has brilliantly allowed users to define it – almost entirely. As Shirky points out, “Most of the uses of Twitter were not imagined by the designers of the service – they were managed by the users of the service.”

This reinforces my point that we have the power to control the internet. “The real digital cities are made of us.” There is no commander-in-chief or anything controlling what we contribute to the internet, it is all up to us to do something with that responsibility and make the most of it.

The results of my Rep.licants.org test.

I let the bot run wild for about 48 hours, but when it tweeted a link to a Miley Cyrus video… well, that was the last straw! It followed about 15 accounts in that time, and got me about the same number of new followers (but only 1 of the accounts was a real person, the rest were companies that I had no interest in)

The first tweet the bot made was a little creepy because it retweeted my sister saying dinner was “nom nom nom.” which was scary because I had eaten the same dinner as her and also enjoyed it… but how did it know! o.O

Overall tho I was pretty disappointed as, when signing up it asks you to put in your top followers and a few topics that interest you, and it seemed to just retweet those top followers and post links to things relating to the topics I put it. It didn’t attempt to tweet as ME, if that makes sense. (although at one stage it called my friend Shazz ‘dude’ which is something I call her a lot so perhaps it analysed my previous tweets to her… or perhaps it was just random coincidence) I wish it had made more normal tweets (as opposed to retweets replies or link tweets). 

Because the bots tweeting style was so radically different to my own, it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t me. Also, one of the first things it tweeted was a link to a Lady Gaga song, which was rather embarrassing… and I wanted to take it off then and there because I don’t really want to be associated with liking her! but I decided to give it a chance. but like I said, I had to take it off when it tweeted a Miley Cyrus song…

The whole idea of a bot running my twitter account was a weird feeling. I’ve been using that account religiously for nearly 3 years, and amassed a little over 28,000 tweets from it, so it definitely felt odd to step back and let the bot take over, especially when it was tweeting things that were so not me

It definitely made me think about another tension I hadn’t really focussed on yet for my project: being a digital citizen vs being yourself. And what i mean by that is that I don’t want my project to come across as telling people to all tweet the same way, because I believe personality is hugely important. My bot tweeted links without giving any sort of personal thoughts about them, so it came across as cold and, well, robot-like! Obviously tweeting useful/interesting links is essential for being a digital citizen, but I think there definitely needs to be a mix of personal/thought tweets in there too. Going to think more on how best to explain this/make it work for my project.

EDIT: How ironic. Just noticed that the Miley Cyrus tweet I complained about was actually the only one of the bots tweets to be retweeted. oh dear…

Rep.licants.org

A very interesting Master Thesis project by Matthieu Cherubini. This app creates a bot to run your twitter or facebook account and essentially be YOU. by analysing your past tweets and the keywords you give it, it tweets for you, AS you.

In the About section is says that the aim of it is “to create a critical service in order to open some discussions.” which is interesting in itself. This designer could be someone interesting to get into a conversation about digital citizenship with! 

I have installed the bot onto my personal account to test it out and see what happens!

(Source: fastcodesign.com)

Think I just found the perfect infographic to explain why I am targeting “ordinary twitter users” for this project.

"eMarketer estimates there are 26 million monthly users of Twitter in 2010. That makes users of Twitter a relatively small minority of internet users, at 14.6% but their voice is disproportionately loud and influential."
"Everyday Twitter users are about three times as likely as average internet users to upload photos, four times as likely to blog, three times as likely to submit ratings and reviews, and nearly six times as likely to post articles.”

Changing the habits of twitter users is an excellent place to start with a “cleanup” of internet pollution as they generate a lot of online content not only on twitter, but on the rest of the web as well. 
and to help illustrate who i’m targeting further, despite Twitter having around 200million users, I am targeting a very small percentage: the “loud mouths” in this graphic.

This graphic is over a year old, but I think the basic makeup is still pretty similar today, and still illustrates that I am not targeting anyone who uses Twitter, I’m targeting those who use it the most.

Think I just found the perfect infographic to explain why I am targeting “ordinary twitter users” for this project.

"eMarketer estimates there are 26 million monthly users of Twitter in 2010. That makes users of Twitter a relatively small minority of internet users, at 14.6% but their voice is disproportionately loud and influential."

"Everyday Twitter users are about three times as likely as average internet users to upload photos, four times as likely to blog, three times as likely to submit ratings and reviews, and nearly six times as likely to post articles.

Changing the habits of twitter users is an excellent place to start with a “cleanup” of internet pollution as they generate a lot of online content not only on twitter, but on the rest of the web as well. 

and to help illustrate who i’m targeting further, despite Twitter having around 200million users, I am targeting a very small percentage: the “loud mouths” in this graphic.

This graphic is over a year old, but I think the basic makeup is still pretty similar today, and still illustrates that I am not targeting anyone who uses Twitter, I’m targeting those who use it the most.

The most up-to-date Twitter stats infographic I’ve managed to find so far. 1 billion tweets each week!! And it’s great to see the growth laid out like this, it makes me think I really have chosen the right area to focus on for my major project, as with growth like this, I think Twitter will stay ‘relevant’ for a while yet (unlike Facebook thanks to G+), and it is obvious that a lot of content is being created, so it would be great to cut down on any potential pollution in those 1 billion tweets.

The most up-to-date Twitter stats infographic I’ve managed to find so far. 1 billion tweets each week!! And it’s great to see the growth laid out like this, it makes me think I really have chosen the right area to focus on for my major project, as with growth like this, I think Twitter will stay ‘relevant’ for a while yet (unlike Facebook thanks to G+), and it is obvious that a lot of content is being created, so it would be great to cut down on any potential pollution in those 1 billion tweets.

You are what you Tweet

A quirky little Twitter data visualisation tool by Visual.ly

You have the option of looking at an account on its own or doing a “faceoff” which I chose to do with my two twitter accounts. The results were quite interesting! Most twitter data visualisation tools I’ve used have been very inaccurate, but this one seems much better, and seems to give me a good view of how I am portrayed by my twitter accounts. tho i would like to know exactly what my “likely obsessions” represent. cos i don’t think I talk about coke on my @charliprangley account at all! haha. 

A fun little tool and I like the portrait it creates. Click the link and try it out for yourself! I am VERY interested in seeing what you think about the visualisation it creates for you so please leave a link to your image and your thoughts about it in the comments if you have time :)

10 reasons why I'm dumping Facebook for Twitter

An interesting tongue-in-cheek Facebook vs Twitter article.

I enjoyed this paragraph which relates to something I’ve been thinking about recently: “Who is a Twitter user?”

"If you only ever checked Twitter to find out what’s going on in the news – and sadly this is something I’m guilty of- you’d be forgiven for thinking the world is full of liberally like-minded, bleeding hearts like yourself. If Twitter were a true representation of society, every one would hate Sarah Palin, make pithy jokes about the BNP and Tweet thought provoking tidbits on the widening gap between the rich and the poor…from their iPhones…while crossing the road from the fried chicken shop cos it scares them."

and this paragraph about the spread of news via twitter.

"Often Twitter just shows the leaning of human nature towards mass hysteria, with online Chinese whispers having the ability to turn some bloke getting caught shoplifting on Oxford Street, into a full scale terror alert for central London. On the other hand, Twitter’s trump card is its ability to give those that may not have been heard before, a voice…and I’m not talking Justin Bieber fans. I think the first time I saw a big news story unfold was while idly checking Twitter on my lunch break. It was as word began to spread of the violent protests in Tehran and the short clip of Neda, the young woman killed by a single sniper shot, quickly went viral. The coverage was unregulated, unavoidable and what a struck a chord with me was that it was delivered by ordinary people my age. When Twitter innocently scheduled downtime for maintenance during the height of the protests, it was a furious user campaign that forced the network to relent and keep the site live, while the world had its eyes on Tweeters pushing news out from Iran’s capital. Now, call me a soppy tart, but I think that kind of people power is pretty special.”

The “online Chinese whispers” metaphor is an interesting one and I like the anecdote the writer uses to talk about the power Twitter users have and that a lot of them are using Twitter for things of importance.

What the heck are we doing on Twitter?

The average Tweeter is well worth influencing: an educated 32-year old, more likely male than female, with a household income of $91,000 per year and a high likelihood to influence choices made by friends and family.

Though the focus of my project is more on ordinary users than companies (at this stage anyways) this is still interesting and the advice can still apply to ordinary users. I think it’s about being human and letting personality come through in your tweets. 

The Art of the Hashtag

"hashtags are a community creation and there are no formal rules for using them."


(Source: wellpreparedmind.wordpress.com)

Twitter, in the hands of millions of users, has transformed into an utterly new kind of place-announcer. You no longer tell your friends where your body is. Instead, it’s about where your head is at. It’s a real-time map to the geography of the mind.