Response to Johnson and Huberman’s Articles about Twitter

How twitter will change the way we live

In Johnson’s article, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live,” he describes how Twitter has become a new way for us to communicate.  One can update his status, discuss with a wider audience, and share a link leading others to an article, video, etc.  He further groups Twitter with many other products of “American innovation,” such as eBay, Wikipedia and Facebook, which have become “lifestyle-changing hit products.”  After reading this article and looking at how my friends and I use Twitter I can see how it has changed the way we live.

Twitter is viewed by many as a mini-blog limiting each post or “tweet” to 140 characters.  You can tweet from a computer, but in class we agreed that most of us just use our phones or mobile devices.  The mobility and limited characters give us more reason to post throughout the day or give status updates.  Getting updates in realtime seems to give us a closer insight into someone’s day rather than reading a diary-style blog where one recaps several events at the end of the day.

Twitter adds another dimension to how we communicate, or it has “added a second layer of discussion.”  Johnson gives an example of this from a conference he attended called Hacking Education.  There were a few at the conference discussing various issues face to face and they opened the conversation by using Twitter and the #hackedu hashtag.  By doing this they reached a wider audience and gave voice to many ideas that may not have been mentioned from the group of 40 present at the conference.  I personally don’t use Twitter to this capacity however this semester I will try to.

Social networks that matter:  Twitter under the microscope

Huberman’s article discusses how a person only interacts with a few of his/her “declared,” friends or followers.  Further with more interactions we find that these people will post more.  In my experience with Twitter I find this to be true.  I have lost personal contact with my “friends” so I don’t interact with them through Twitter or Facebook as much as I used to.  Even though I don’t keep in touch with these people they are still my “declared,” friends.  This goes with what Huberman’s notion that, “a small percentage of the contacts stored in the phone are frequently contacted by the user.”