Murthy’s first chapter on Twitter takes a moment to explain what Twitter is (for those living under such a deep rock that they somehow don’t know), and how it stands out among common social internet sites like Facebook and MySpace. Twitter’s claim to fame is how it encourages its users to post in 140 characters – the same size as your standard text message – which are available for all users to see and comment on. It’s organization by themes and events, instead of by user, can make it a powerful tool to get an idea of the general opinion of a topic or event, since you can go to the hashtag and read what people have tagged the hashtag to. Murthy notes that it acts more akin to a stream of voices, all chiming in on a single topic. It also allows strangers to comment to each other, such as people tweeting at celebrities. While Murthy admits that Twitter is similar to Facebook in some ways, he says that Twitter isn’t “social networking” per se, meaning a social place that allows people to connect and keep up with each other individually, but it is a “social media”, which is more like a place where ordinary people can publish ‘news’ or ‘stories’ for all to see.
– Can Twitter be a reliable source of news and information?
– What makes Facebook a “social networking” site, and not simply “social media?