Friday, April 3, 2009

twitter in the news

This has certainly been a big day for twitter and the news.

For starters, the rumors of google's acquisition of twitter were all the buzz this morning. As PC magazine reported,
the noise this created online truly reflects the role that twitter is beginning to have in our daily lives. Moreover, it sets very high expectations for how important it might be. I personally have my reservations about how significant twitter will be long term, though today's news stories are working to erode my scepticsim.

The tragedy in Binghamton NY today has highlighted the speed and power of twitter. Though details were sketchy, news poured out giving details about the events. Tools like tweetscoop that I use through TweetDeck show how searches and posts about the events spiked as the events captivated people online. While the news sites scrambled to publish sketchy details, tweets filled us in on the tragedy second-by-second. If electronic news media is threatening the print news world, I wonder what twitter news might do to traditional news outlets.

Finally, the third big news event of the day involving twitter was the remarkable story of Demi Moore using her account to help prevent a young woman's suicide.

Alarmed by what seemed liked an earnest cry for help by a woman who had written to her, Moore alerted her follows to the situation who then contacted the proper authorities and perhaps saved the life of this young woman.<\b>

As twitter becomes more popular, I think it is safe to say that these kinds of events will become more common. The seemingly narcissistic roots of this micro-blogging tool might just make way for something much more interesting... and useful.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

put the fun back in social media!

With all of the excitement over the wonders of social media, what might be the most overlooked aspect of these outlets is the spontaneous peanut gallery that is out there. It might just seem like noise to the professionals out there, but these comedians are showing us something about how to view this online world.

We've seen the political influence that bloggers, friends, and followers can have. And we all know about the exploding interest in social media marketing opportunities (especially in fields that naturally lend themselves to this environment, like higher-ed).

While this is all fine and good, I find the irreverent corners of this brave new world so much more fun. For every institution that is trying to harness the power of all these new vehicles for their own gain, there are dozens who just want to anonymously express themselves, and frankly they are hilarious.

With the twitter feed full of links to the next ‘new social media marketing tool’, its fun to get a tweet from @darthvader telling me about the daily frustrations of being the sith lord of the darkside. The same is true about facebook, youtube, and the rest. Just check out the nearly three-quarters of a million people who are fans of ALF on facebook for evidence.

Why does this matter?

I think it shows that the no matter how many millions of dollars and man-hours are spent trying to keep up with the social media tsunami, the people who populate these places (and ultimately drive it forward) are far less serious about it. They are just in it for the fun.

That really is the point of all these tools anyway. You have to make it fun first. It you can pull that off well, then you already well on your way to making it work for your interests.

Here are some funny and fake twitter accounts to follow, if you're into that sort of thing:

(thanks to @karlfoxley @myTweetElite)