My First Twitter Experience

I have heard many people talking about Twitter after I come to United States, but this is the first time for me to use Twitter (@cycad1122).

I followed two celebrities (Larry King and Tyra Banks) and 9 news-based corporations (i.e. Times). I agree with Shepherd that the celebrities use Twitter for public relations and self-branding; I find Banks and King using twitter to promote their shows. I also agree with Shepherd that Twitter makes the followers feel the celebrities are “just like us (P.154)”; when celebrities tweet about what they are doing right now, the followers will feel more close to them. Shepherd also points out that Twitter homogenized the U.S. entertainment culture (P.157), I do agree with her partly. When l followed the celebrities’ Twitter, I do see more opportunities for them to advertise themselves. It is also much easier for them to interact with their audiences and fans any time and any place; I think Twitter can somehow consolidate the entertainment culture.

However, when I followed the news-based Twitter such as CNN or BBC, I didn’t see the culture being “homogenized” by Twitter. Most of the news are tweeted in one headline with a link to the article, which I think is very neutral (not like the celebrities are trying to do self-branding). I think Twitter is a good tool to follow the news, I can just click the link which I am interested in. I think it is very different between following celebrities and following news. Shepherd’s argument about Twitter based only on following the celebrity, which I think is not persuasive enough.

However, I will have to agree with Shepherd that Twitter didn’t lead to the “End of Geography”, for as I know most of the people in Taiwan (or China) don’t use Twitter; so I kind of agree that the content of Twitter might be mostly U.S. (or Western?) centralized.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sadiecone10
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 11:07:43

    I liked your discussion regarding Shepherd’s “End of Geography” in relation to your experience in Taiwan. I think it is Facebook that may have a more global, “End of Geography” factor that would be far-reaching yet still create a sense of togetherness among users. I hope we discuss in class the differences in relation to Twitter between following celebrities and following news organizations!

    Reply

  2. Shine Lyui
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 22:46:11

    Personally I don’t like the tweets made by these news organizations. Like you said, most of them post links to the articles on their websites, which is something i definitely hate to see on my own page. It is almost impossible for them to do this in an organized fashion, so I would rather go to the websites on my own. I just thought they could make this better if they kind of sort out the most striking and important news for us, but unfortunately that’s not what I have seen. As for the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, I guess you could simply tell which one wins from the start from the understandability of their names.

    Reply

  3. Kayley Thomas
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 20:41:59

    I followed 25 celebrities, and Tyra was one of them. I’d say that she is one of the more extreme cases of a very two-dimensional Twitter presence, entirely self-promoting; that isn’t the case, certainly not to that degree, with every celebrity Twitter. Some are actually much more personal, some engage with current events, some respond to fans, and some respond to the celebrities’ own peers and friends. Of course, it’s never a completely authentic image – they’re going to share what they choose to and nothing else, but the same is true of my Twitter and my Facebook; it’s an image I choose to share. You might find it interesting to check out the Twitters of some other actors or musicians or authors or something; there are quite a few that call Shepherd into question (or at least I thought so).

    I think you’re definitely right though that Twitter provides an excellent opportunity for self-promotion, and frankly, a person would be silly not to use it as such; I’ve promoted my own projects and others’ through my personal Twitter. That it consolidates US entertainment is something I’ve admittedly never given much thought to because I only engage with US (and some British) entertainment by habit. I do think it’d be interesting to break things down into countries and look at how many people in different areas are not only using Twitter but who are they following and talking about – is it US-centric outside of the US? If Twitter has a geography, what does it look like? Because I agree – the Internet isn’t the end of geography. I think it challenges it sometimes, refigures it and subverts it and pulls it closer together, but other times I think it reinforces divides too.

    Reply

  4. chentingchen
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 17:26:52

    I agree with Shine that I don’t like the “headline” news tweeted by news-based Twitter either. Maybe just like you said, Twitter can be a good tool to follow news. However, it is really annoying to me seeing MY OWN PAGE full of unorganized URLs. I still have to glance those headlines that is no different to me to view their own website. I think that if news-based Twitter can use its instant advantage and categorize their news such as politics, entertainment, sports for others to follow. That will be much more helpful for their followers.

    Reply

  5. Carol
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 01:49:59

    Reply

  6. fanninchen
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 10:55:33

    I totally agree with your point that “when celebrities tweet about what they are doing right now, the followers will feel more close to them”, because I just did that! And I also follow “times”, “TV guide”, etc. They update the latest news, and the user can choose from which is interested to them. Although I’m also kind of frustrated by the annoying non-stop tweet showed up on my page, but at least those are “news”, not some boring vernacular.

    Reply

  7. morganyang
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 14:26:45

    I think the Twitter is still a medium that controlled by western culture. I have seen few information from the “East”. It’s interesting that both west and east celebrities use Twitter as a tool to raise their publicity. The things you mentioned in your article make me think of the Ashton Kutcher case Shepherd provided in her essay. I have followed one of the politicians Governor Schwarzenegger and some celebrities. During this days, I saw him updates his schedule and what he is doing right now. I have to admit that this marketing strategy is brilliant to propagate themselves even we have no ideas whether it is them who did the update. And there is another thing worthy to talk about, I have found a parody of Anna Wintour when I’m trying to search the celebrities to follow. Surprisingly, there are still lots of followers who follow her even we can’t be sure if this account is Anna Wintour herself.

    Reply

  8. Mindy McAdams
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:19:57

    You wrote: “I think it is very different between following celebrities and following news.” I think you are correct!

    People who like both can follow both. I know some people who have two different Twitter accounts — one for entertainment, and the other for news and information. (I personally would not do that!)

    Reply

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