Twitter is clearly different things to different people. It is one part of new/social media; forms of media production and dissemination that were popularised long after I changed careers and stopped teaching about the media. Social media is more democratic and less controllable (despite the recent finding against Fairfax), more instant and more global.
As a latecomer I joined Facebook to stalk my teenage daughter and to keep in touch with her travels when she was 19 years old. Twitter I eschewed for a long time even when said daughter found her first job – tweeting the News. Finally I caved into curiosity and was tutored in its use by a young colleague. It took all of 2 days before I became an addict.
My name is Dr Sally and I am an addict. Here’s why -
I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what you look like, I don’t know your age and, unless you tell me, I don’t know your gender!
How liberating. (Cause you don’t know that about me either!)
I love the fact that I can converse with those much younger than me (I used to love this as a Uni Lecturer) but am not dismissed because no longer young.
I can share and access the most amazing photographs from so many different parts of the world.
I can throw out a question, and get an answer. You are my research assistants, my eyes on the ground, my insiders; My Syrian refugees, my Palestinians, my world class economists, human rights activists, students, musicians, international lawyers, climate scientists.
You are also lovely Grannies who knit and blockade ancient forests from loggers and miners. You are young and intense and care about your world and the people in it. You give me so much and restore my faith, day by day, by night, by tweet.
My twitter teaches me things, links me to articles, books, Youtube, a wealth of information. It’s how I learned about #TPP, #Shenhua, each and every bomb that landed on #Gaza.
My twitter is not the twitter of fans, but I have found out things to satisfy my own obsessions (Game of Thrones - keep it secret). My twitter is a mix of people from all over in the world. In 18 months I have found 2,600 followers, who would have thunk it.
My twitter is an ever expanding world of photographers, jokers, lefties, greenies, muckrakers, scientists, economists, lawyers, teachers, writers, cartoonists, greenies, old and young pollies. Many from Australia but more and more from the globe. I have linked up with a few people I know and have met many I didn’t. I got followed by Malcolm Fraser and was proud (who knew? I hated him in 1975).
I know what you think about something if you can say it in 140 characters, though I may get that wrong, misconstrued. I love a debate, sometimes hang out for an argument. (Favourite Monty Python skit) You watch TV with me, I compete with you to get a tweet on #qanda, at home I’m not alone. You crowd my Ipad, you comment, answer back and sometimes you Block me! Goodness knows why! But if I’m angry you listen to my rants and sometimes join in, or occasionally send me blasts of ire because you disagree. Then I mute you. Bliss. If only the real world was like this!
I thought I would hate twitter. It sounded crass, a waste of time. I had no idea how productive that waste of time would be!