Happy birthday, Twitter!
Eight years ago today, a little bird signaled a brave new world that came to be known as the Twitterverse. I joined the chat revolution in 2008, so although I was an early adopter by some standards, I wasn’t one of the first. Here’s my very first tweet:
Not very auspicious a beginning, I confess, but over the years, Twitter has become a true town square. I consider Facebook a sort of office watercooler or backyard gathering. To me Twitter is more Central Park–a place to rally, to schmooze and to meet random new people. But that’s not the real power of Twitter. Twitter is a connector, putting you in touch with not only your friends and people with whom you share a common interest, it is an opportunity builder where you might bump into a celebrity, a politician, a potential business contact. It’s also a play to nudge the seemingly un-nudgeable: from recalcitrant corporations whose customer service seems to be less and less in existence these days (no corporate PR department likes the hashtag #XXXFail sweeping across the Twitterverse.
Just last week after a hugely days-long frustrating experience with a large media company’s customer service department, I screamed on Twitter and within five minutes got tagged by the company’s corporate consumer affairs department. My issue was bumped to corporate and finally got resolved.
I’ve made more business contacts on Twitter than I have on LinkedIn (or certainly Facebook). As an entertainment journalist located in the Midwest, I’ve found access to (and ev
en struck up friendships with) numerous people in Hollywood.
As a news source, even the cable news networks turn to Twitter as the authoritative voice in citizen journalism. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wars, and revolutions are reported first hand. All you need to do is search for the right hashtag (#).
Twitter has become so powerful that some countries have banned it. Just this week, Turkey, surprisingly has sought to squelch access to Twitter. It’s not the first country to do so, but Turkey is a democratic society, and its censoring of the vox populi of Twitter is stunning, and has led not to suppression, but to mockery.
So, Happy Birthday Twitter. Long may you reign as the voice of the people, the fueler of revolutions, the genuine town square of the Interwebs! You can join my circle of more than 4,000 Twitter followers and…stay tuned.