Tweeting is the new black

Twitter, it seems, is making quite a splash in the Philippine shores. Although it is a relatively new phenomenon here in the country, people around the world have already been very much acquainted with this micro-blog service. First thing’s first, what on earth is a micro-blog anyway? This reminds me of the time when people back in the early 2000s were very much baffled with the term “blog,” which by the way is short for “web log.” Of course, we all found out later on that it was simply a digital medium in which we can freely share our thoughts with the rest of the globe (or not, depending on your privacy settings) and comment on the musings of others as well. Micro-blogging is just that, only made simpler.

Blogger

As I've mentioned in my first post here, I used to write in Blogger.com.

Neologisms aside, I remember back when Blogger.com (that’s “Blogspot” for you old-school bloggers out there) was the de rigueur blogging service that our adolescent versions of ourselves signed up for. LiveJournal and Xanga were popular too but most teens favored Blogger because of the more user-friendly interface and of course, the option to customize its appearance. What’s funny was that back then, people were very much concerned with having really long blog entries (I am guilty of this) with the hope that some random classmate or friend (who happens to have a blog of his or her own) would be intrigued and thus comment on it. Also, if you post regularly and more intriguingly, that person might add you to his or her blogroll. There also came a time when photo-blogs were the “in” thing and had people migrating to Multiply (which has now been dominated by online merchants). Again, the personal branding bug has bitten us hard and the itch that came with it (to publicize part if not all of our personal lives, no less) is insatiable. Nowadays, however, times have indeed changed.

Twitter

Follow me, @zidvicious, on Twitter!

The creation of Twitter (as well as Plurk) has changed the way people blog forever. With the addition of the suffix micro-, it meant that blogging is now made easier (in the same way micro-miniskirts made the women who wore them seem “easier”). It is easier in the sense that you don’t have to compete with yourself or fellow bloggers with who has the longer post. The challenge with Twitter is how do you compress your thoughts into 140 characters or less. It becomes even more challenging if, like me, one prefers to spell out everything. I have always been a staunch believer that if you have the leisure of typing out words in full (read: if you’re using a keyboard), you should.  The only time I deem it acceptable to shorten words is when you’re SMS-ing someone. Add to that the fact that I have a lot of thoughts running though my head at any given time. It makes for quite a debate with myself as to what words to use and what phrases to contract to fit into the limit.

I think that the reason why most people sign up for Twitter is the ability to “follow” celebrities (or in my case, fashion blogs and modeling agencies) for real-time updates on what they’re doing at the moment. It’s the feeling of being somewhat of a fly-on-the-wall (especially if said celebrity uses TwitPic or TweetPhoto) that makes fans seem closer to the people they idolize. It must be noted also that Plurk does not have the kind of prominence that Twitter has, mainly because the latter capitalized on the already established popularity of its famous users. The “verified account” badge makes it more credible. However, some use Twitter to make themselves feel like celebrities in their own right, in terms of “Tweeting” every excruciating detail of their relatively boring everyday lives.

"Fail Whale"

It takes more than one click of the Refresh button to make the "Fail Whale" go away.

On the other hand, some people are more sensible by following media institutions like GMA, ABS-CBN, BBC, CNN, and the like to get news updates from all over the world. It amazes me how much traffic goes on in Twitter especially when big news breaks. Sometimes, it cannot accommodate everyone and thus prompts the “Fail Whale” graphic to appear. During functional hours, however, Twitter can also be used as a platform in which organizations can make announcements or maybe press releases; with the message more easy to understand and direct to the point. An organization can somehow gauge the number of its target audiences by the number of followers they have or by how issues related to them are trending in the Twitter-verse.

Profile of a Twitter User

Companies are starting to use Twitter in promoting their brands.

Even though Twitter has somehow convinced people to start micro-blogging, it hasn’t stopped people from using conventional blogs like Blogger and WordPress. This comes as a relief to people who think that writing for more than one paragraph is dead. At first, I was rather skeptical in signing up for a micro-blog because I was convinced that writing should be done in its most traditional sense (length and depth being the primary factors that I judge upon). I have come to realize eventually that you can indeed be both insightful and meaningful in less than 140 characters; it really depends on how you construct your thoughts in order to convey a complete idea. Communication may be more compact nowadays but it’s the quality of it that counts at the end of the day.

NOTE: You may have notice that I did not include Tumblr in this post. Much as I want to talk further about the Tumblr phenomenon here, I shall do so in my next entry since it demands a more in-depth discussion.

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About Zid

My wit is legendary. View all posts by Zid

24 responses to “Tweeting is the new black

  • Pattydc

    “in the same way micro-miniskirts made the women who wore them seem “easier”” — this made me laugh 🙂

    Thanks for this Zid! I admit I don’t have a twitter account yet but I’ve been thinking about creating one for quite some time now. It’s because I keep thinking about how another SNS can benefit me (selfish yet true). Anyway after reading this post I have decided to give Twitter a try. I would like to be more “in the loop” of things, and I think Twitter will help me with that. I got that from your post. 🙂

    • Zid

      It’s quite fun using Twitter, actually. There, you can update your status to your heart’s desire. Some of the things I Tweet I don’t post on Facebook. I can get quite feisty on Twitter. LOL. And I love being “in the loop.” How else would I be updated on the latest happenings in the fashion world? 🙂

  • Franze

    “Fail Whale”. I love it. XDD I never knew it’s the Fail Whale until I read this.

    For me though, the blog has more appeal to me since…well, I don’t have to exhaust all my creativity compressing my thoughts in 140 characters. I originally signed up for Twitter because…well, just because. I’ve learned to enjoy it though, spouting random comments and status messages. I dunno, but blogging has this ‘pressure’ to write something lengthier and substantial than stating “I hate Pinoy soap operas coz they never learn that MISCOMMUNICATION KILLS” blahblah. XD

    • Zid

      It’s that feeling of having to write until you think it’s worthy of posting which makes blogging the opposite of fun for most people. Sometimes I wonder if what I wrote down is already enough to make myself clear.

  • slightlydillydallying

    What keeps me hesitating to open a Twitter account is the fact that I will be coerced to compress my thoughts to a short string of words. Necessarily, Filipinos are inherently verbose. I think this characteristic comes with our culture. However, if Kris Aquino can comply with the word limit, I think then that I will not have a hard time with Twitter after all.

    • Zid

      I find that rather funny because it’s true. Had you been required to compress your reply in 140 characters, you would’ve just settled for “Okay.” 😀

  • Jet Tumang

    I think I would sign up for twitter tonight^^

    At topic, micro-blogging is a picture of how fast-paced our lives are today. People could easily post what they are feeling immediately. What I worry though is that with fast-paced twitting (sorry I don’t know if there’s such a term), thinking would be overlooked. People sometimes post their emotions immediately without thinking of the possible consequences or impact it could have and do; sometimes, people just post insignificant information, again without thinking.

    • Zid

      Itchy fingers coupled with a lapse of judgment make for a potential disaster; which is why people need to double-check whether the information they are “tweeting” could impact another person (o a group of persons at that) in a negative manner.

  • Pam, TheOrComDiva

    Indeed Twitter can be identified as “micro-blogging site.” At that, it posts a challenge to its users: how to actually convey a substantial message in 140 characters ONLY. Personally, I find it difficult to compose a 140 character-long message that would encapsulate all that I wanted to say at the moment. But as what people say, “Mabuti nang maikli at makabuluhan kaysa mahaba ngunit walang saysay.”

    • Zid

      Twitter somehow forces us to be more direct-to-the-point, unless one is the type of person who prefers to be purposely vague. Regardless of what we post on Twitter, what we’re trying to say should come to our followers in the same way we conceived them. In a Utopian world, there is no room for misinterpretation. Sadly, not everyone is able to avoid that.

  • thefeistyfeline

    I guess I have to agree with Diane. I mean for us Filipinos, and generally for communicators, pressing together one’s insights to a limit of 140 characters is really a challenge. Even as I comment on this post, I think that the scroll bar would appear afterwards.

    Anyhow, I believe that microblogging can be a very effective means of personal branding. Few words are very powerful. That’s what Advertising taught us.

    Zid, I remember that you and Patti made an article about social networking wars for our oc109.1 class. Since this is a communication blog, I think you could also include it as part of your entries. Or was it outdated already? I don’t know.

    Anyway, thanks for this post. You really took and gave a wide perspective of the Twitter implications, from the individual to organizations at large. 🙂

    • Zid

      I might do a follow-up to that article soon. I just don’t know how to frame that issue nowadays since it’s very much dated. But I’ll still try. I have a number of other topics that I wish to tackle first. 😉

  • commania

    Hi Zid! 🙂 This was such an interesting post (with me not using Twitter or any other blogging website rather than WordPress).

    It is quite amazing to realize that the use of Internet, most especially through social networking sites such as micro-blogs, does not only make communication faster but also serves as a training ground in making writing more efficient. With the trend of blogging, anyone could be a self-proclaimed writer, with his or her posts open for the public to comment on and criticize. Indeed, Twitter does not only provide entertainment with the updates one can get about their favorite personalities but could also help develop potential writers. 😀

    • Zid

      It’s weird considering that I get most of my news from Twitter. Sometimes I baffle myself for relying on it as my primary source of information.

  • neralair

    Before, I thought Twitter was just another bandwagon that I wouldn’t be able to maintain (i.e. Plurk account gone dead). Today, I find it difficult to not use less than 140 words to express myself. I’ve encountered the Fail Whale more than once, too. 🙂 And one plus I find is that you get to be “friends”, or at least follow the people you need to stalk. :-p As that one tweet said, “Facebook is for people who were your friends in college and high school. Twitter is for the people who you wished were your friends in college and high school.” 🙂 Nice post, Zid! Keep them going.

    • Zid

      I’ve never heard of that Tweet but it does ring very true. It feels great to be Twitter-buddies with other fashion enthusiasts around the globe. Funny thing though, there are (I think) five porn studios following me on Twitter. I followed them back just for kicks.

  • blahblahblogsheet

    Ziddy! i like your post 🙂 The reason why I don’t have a twitter account is I don’t know how to limit my thoughts to 140 characters. During my OJT and election week, I sit beside ate grace in our cubicle and I see her sift through her twitter account. Since we do not have TV in the office, it was through twitter where we get updates of the results. Yes, it interests me that it can give you instant ‘headlines’ of whatever happenings around us even if you’re locked up in the four corners of the office. That was one event where I was able to see the benefits of micro-blogging.

    Well, I think I better sign up soon 😉

  • lstea

    Microblogging has indeed changed our blogging ways. I was also guilty of the long posts in the past but thanks to plurk and twitter, I’ve become more concise with my words and learned the beauty of it. It has, however, become a problem for me when professors ask reactions, essays, and other papers.

    I think one of the reasons why Twitter beats Plurk is the cleaner look. Plurk is a bit too much of a hassle, not to mention when you want to edit the timeline. It just goes to show that K.I.S.S. (Keeping It Short and Simple) is still preferred over complexity.

    • Zid

      I haven’t tried Plurk and I’m pretty sure I never will. It takes so much energy updating every single account I have on the internet. I have tons BTW all over the web. LOL.

  • attackofthelines

    I have been thinking of signing up for a Twitter account, but I’m just too lazy to do so. I guess that what makes microblogging such a hit is that it kind of makes people think what to say that would give a huge impact to the readers even if it’s short. The tweet can be just an exclamation or a philosophical one-liner on what you’re thinking. At the very least, it teaches people how to be direct to the point.

    Which reminds me, I should already create a Twitter account! 🙂

  • Lala

    “Old-school blogger” is my new alias. Haha.

    I haven’t succumbed to Twitter and Tumblr (yet) because I don’t think I need it (yet). Facebook will suffice. 🙂

    • Zid

      I still have my reservations regarding Tumblr. It just doesn’t feel “original” to me. IDK. But I guess I have to settle with Facebook and Twitter for now.

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