Reading Blog 17 – November 11, 2015

“Chapter 3: Theorizing Twitter?” (p. 24-50) by Dhiraj Murthy from “Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age.”

This week’s reading is talking about the different social, political, and economic ideologies associated with Twitter. Though Twitter is a relatively new social media platform, users and critics are already starting to notice how it is changing the face of communication. Simple-phrased tweets are actually tools in disseminating certain ideals or communicating certain messages, even if we simply think they are irrelevant or mundane. For example, Murthy talks about how Twitter is especially important in terms of self-presentation. Twitter thrives on how much their users post about themselves, especially about the banal details of their lives. Though people may be indifferent to these tweets, they do have a cultural and historical value. Talking about your daily musings says something about the particular culture at the time. Something that you do on a daily basis in this generation may vary from a past generation, and Twitter helps to document that. Twitter becomes a cultural tool that helps people affirm their identities, and keep their memories sacred. Murthy also talks about how Twitter is a tool in terms of the spread of democracy. Twitter users are empowered by the idea of being able to publish their own content. They are able to “break news or voice their opinions publicly” through this social media platform (Murthy 31). Because of this, more people are becoming more influential in the online sphere. Not only that, but they are also making connections with other like-minded people who share their perspectives. This, however, can be dangerous because it restricts Twitter users from being exposed to opposing view points. Another issue is that Twitter users may feel like their power is extended to a global scale, because they are publishing their own content to a global social media platform. However, Murthy argues that Twitter users have a relatively limited sphere in which their tweets are influential. Therefore, it’s like Twitter is giving people a false sense of power. This chapter accurately describes both the benefits and downfalls that Twitter has encountered in terms of chaining the face of communication, and it definitely made me think of the social media platform in a new way.

Links:

  1. “Beware online “filter bubbles”” – http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en
  2. “The trouble with Twitter” – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/dec/29/trouble-twitter-social-networking-banality
  3. “Is Twitter good for democracy?” – http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19823651

Discussion Questions:

  1. Does self-presentation on Twitter make people value more superficial online information?
  2. How does self-presentation on Twitter relate to the idea of the consumer being the advertiser?
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