I’ve finally been getting the hang of Twitter, learning what Hash Tags are and getting a crash course on conversing with folks from Craig, which still confuses me. Why would somebody have a conversation through Tweets that everybody could read when they could simply send an e-mail or even through Facebook postings? Yes, yes, they could do it through a private message on Twitter, but even those are limited in terms of how much you can say. Still, people are claiming that Twitter and Facebook helped take down a country’s government. Who knew? And would it have happened, say, 20 years ago?
The biggest misconception I’ve been under the impression of is that people like you and me—more you than me—have been responsible for deciding what gets Tweeted out, what catches on and what gets communicated. This also sets the trends shows on Twitter’s site. Not so. HP released a study that a mere 22 users were responsible for setting those trends. Of those 22 users, +70% of them were run by…are you ready for this?…traditional news media outlets.
This is both fascinating and a little scary. It’s fascinating because, again, I was under the impression that folks were spreading the news and chatting about topics because it was their toy, their outlet. It’s scary because, once again, if so many of these 22 users who set the trends are filtering folks to mainstream outlets, then we risk being manipulated by the very agencies this is theoretically supposed to be circumventing.
Okay, it’s not quite an X-File and, sure, we can’t believe everything we read, especially on Twitter and especially if you’ve read some of the crap that gets tweeted out. Regardless, now we have to be even more cautious of what we believe and consider the source or at least where the source is directing us.