Daily post

Twitter turns (sweet?) 16

How do you use Twitter?

Although Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet on 21 March 2006, the parent company, Odeo, released Twttr (Twitter would come later) to the public on 15 July 2006.

That’s when Biz Stone announced “a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS.”

When we showed it to Jason Goldman (product manager of Blogger) he called it “present tense blogging.”

As I wrote in March (Tweets are 16 years old today):

How popular is Twitter? As I type, we’re sending 9,923 tweets per second, where “we” is now a loose term given how many tweets are automated.

Twitter has completely changed the way we receive breaking news and has become one of the most visited websites in the world (Alexa rank 23 today).

Twitter sets the news cycle’s pulse because so many journalists are addicted to it. Its power is in agenda-setting. But that’s all happening instantaneously and out in the open, not behind the closed doors of an editors’ meeting.

It is rare for an inventor/founder to envision either the full impact of their idea or how we (the “users”) will “fold, spindle or mutilate” that invention.

When Twitter was two years old, I outlined a taxonomy for tweets. I did not anticipate Twitter becoming a tool for public health campaigns. Or social change.

In the intervening months, Twitter has been embroiled in the Elon Musk saga.

An important private public-like square

Twitter is clearly a private space. However, it has elements of a public square, such as the default ability to read-and-follow freely (unless blocked).

Twitter is widely acknowledged as important digital space for news and journalists. Over the past 2+ years, it has also become an important digital space for scientists, whether the subject is #climateChange or #covid19 or #abortion.

Perhaps counterintuitively, researchers discovered that information about Covid-19 shared on Twitter and Facebook is more likely – not less – to be credible when compared with health information shared before the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought widespread attention to an “infodemic” of potential health misinformation. This claim has not been assessed based on evidence… We gathered about 325 million posts sharing URLs from Twitter and Facebook during the beginning of the pandemic (March 8-May 1, 2020) compared to the same period in 2019… Posts about COVID-19 were 0.37 times as likely to link to “not credible” sources and 1.13 times more likely to link to “more credible” sources than prior to the pandemic.

Mental health researchers analyzed English tweets from January 2010 – January 2021. They “found that the popularity of the phrase mental health increased by nearly two orders of magnitude between 2012 and 2018.”

We observed that mentions of mental health spiked annually and reliably because of mental health awareness campaigns as well as unpredictably in response to mass shootings, celebrities dying by suicide, and popular fictional television stories portraying suicide… Finally, we observed that since 2015, mentions of mental health have become increasingly due to retweets, suggesting that the stigma associated with the discussion of mental health on Twitter has diminished with time.

How do you use Twitter?


#scitech, #computing  (176/365)
📷 CC Kathy E. Gill
Daily posts, 2022-2023

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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