Twitter and dangerous, probably two words that you wouldn’t imagine seeing in the same sentence.
That said, what with popular modern media terms like sexting, anything that consists of 140 characters can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Just ask Stuart MacLennan, the Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate who got sacked this morning for ‘obscene and offensive tweeting’
Granted, he was actually very naughty with his tweets, but his example is exactly why Twitter is now seen as potentially dangerous.
Twitter, for those of you unaware of its use, is a social media ‘micro –blogging’ site, which means that you can blog (like I am doing here) but you can only use 140 characters (unlike I am doing here).
On Twitter you are able to ‘follow’ other tweeters and they are also able to be your ‘followers’ leading to a cult like society where people are able to discover everything that you tweet.
People who tweet fall into several categories, including:
Those who want as many ‘followers’ as possible so they can claim celebrity status
Those who want to share every aspect of their life with the world in 140 character tweets (for example, I am currently drinking orange juice, I think orange juice is a good drink)
Then you have people like me, who thankfully make up most of the Twitter society.
The category that I fall into simply use Twitter as a means of micro- blogging articles/ videos etc, keeping in contact with friends/ colleagues and every now and then posting aspects of everyday life that we think our ‘followers’ may be interested in. (my Twitter can be found @mattfricker for those who may be curious, although you should also really follow @the5thmedium)
So, I’ve explained what Twitter is, but why’s it dangerous?
Well, it’s dangerous simply because it’s an extension of your personal identity in online media.
By this I mean if I were to send a tweet saying: “look at this amazing video, it is great http://bit.ly/FrzxE” you are then able to click on the link and see what I personally recommend as a video to watch. (Incidentally, the video is great, if you like Alan Partridge)
By watching the linked video however you are able to draw assumptions as to the tweeter’s personal preferences.
In this case, you can assume that I like Alan Partridge.
However this also works on the flip side, as if I tweeted something derogatory or negative (like Stuart MacLennan did) you would make the assumption that these were my personal views that I wanted to share with you.
This is where the link between the words Twitter and dangerous is made, for the issue is not that a tweet is someone’s personal opinion.
It is that a tweet is an opinion that a user wants and intends to share with an audience, something which, depending on the audience, can be very problematic indeed.