Twitter Sociology

This is just exciting because I sat in on Liz Pullen’s seminar during the Social Media Camp at Internet Week New York 2009.  What I didn’t notice was that Jolie O’Dell from Read Write Web posted an interview that she did with her later in the day.  The Social Media Camp is how she got on my social media radar, and I started following her on Twitter after that. I got a link to it today via the @Twitter_Tips stream.

One point in their discussion that I think is very interesting is Twitter trying to distance itself from being defined as a social network.  That’s a bit odd because it is a social network.  It’s a micro-blogging social network. However, with the shift from being able to search bios and follow people who might interest you based on their location or based on their interests or causes they support, you get their suggested users list of celebrities or other notable people.  The problem is with people who have a huge number of followers, Twitter is primarily used as just another broadcast network.  There are many types of broadcast networks.  Honestly, the celebs that I follow I don’t pay much attention to.

This is particularly so regarding the ones who only tweet inspirational quotes. It’s not original. I can and do look up inspirational quotes when I need them. BTW, who made you Gandhi? Following is such a passive sport that, even for the celebrities cut from pretentious cloth, I can do it without much disruption and there is that hope that they’ll say something insightful. Some do from time to time and stay on my list. However, after one too many inane bits of information there are others that are simply not broadcasting anything interesting and I just stop following them.  Again, their follower numbers are so big that it’s no loss to them and there is no loss to be because there wasn’t a conversation or interesting information.

In contrast are the people who have something interesting or informative to say.  I look forward to their tweets.  Also, there is the social network function that comes into play.  I do converse with some people. Most of these people I know.  Others I converse with because we share an interest.  I have juvenile diabetes (insulin dependent or type 1), so I tap into and converse with other diabetics.  I talk to people in NYC.  Of course, I converse with people in the social media field and other bloggers. Those are all social networks that I’m a part of and that Twitter helps me maintain on some level.  It’s a bit disingenuous to ignore that level of social interaction.  Twitter is used for many things including social networking, business promotion, broadcasting, etc.

It’s so interesting that people are smart enough to look at the sociological implications of social media independent of the ROI analysis.  Granted there is, of course, a place for ROI in the context of business.  However, everything ought not be based on profit.  Social media is also fun.  It’s bringing people together in a new way.  It’s interesting to see what people do with it and also how people react.  I’m usually most amused by the Luddites who see social media as a harbinger of all that’s bad with the world. Having sociologists take it serious and analyze it in-depth also validates my like of it and involvement with it.  We all like to be validated from time to time.


Tweepsearch – allows you to search Twitter bios.


2 Responses to Twitter Sociology

  1. Varun says:

    Yikes, Harsh. Though I have a twitter account, I do not use it to follow or spread quotes. From my perspective, most of social media networds are wasting your time and twitter tops the list.

    Unless you are doing something creative (creating a video or may be good squidoo lens) because you like to show off you are better off from most of the web 2.0 sites.

    Another thing about is conversation in SM (social media) is almost non-existent. I have far better convo in forums and blogs. May be because I’m like online for ahh.. god know how many years ?? more than 10.. I think.

  2. Regina Walton says:

    You’re not a celebrity, so, honestly, the whole quote discussion wasn’t about you.

    Beyond that, you’re not the only person who has been online for more than a decade. It’s almost 2010. I’ve had a laptop and net access since 1994, so, yeah…not quite seeing your point with that.

    As for a conversation, even though you’re not having them on social media sites, it certainly doesn’t mean that others aren’t.

    I think this might be a great time for a Schopenhauer quote, “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”

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