Last week I wrote about how Facebook is like high school. Well, guess what? Twitter is just like college.
The fast pace, the sheer volume of information, the vast number of people we have access to on twitter; it's university life all over again.
Here is a more detailed explanation:
Much like the university environment, on Twitter we rise above cliquishness and social snobbery. Go ahead, follow us. Or don't. Twitter is less "social" media, and more of a platform for personal growth and an opportunity for exposure to information. We scroll through the feed like a college student chooses a class to audit: we're looking for people tweeting thoughts and information that grab us. And if you have something good to say, even if we don't follow you, we may declare your tweet one of our "favorites". #unsocialmedia
In college, life was less about appearance and more about substance. We could go to class in sweatpants without fear of social shame, especially if we could accurately dissect moral imperialism or ace organic chemistry. Likewise, on Twitter we establish our identity as we share thought-provoking links and tweets with our followers. It matters less who we are, or want we look like if we have found a brilliant quote from Mother Theresa, or a post on something such as how a trip to the grocery store with small children bears a a striking resemblance to Dante's Inferno. #ninecirclesninesections
In college, birthdays were something we celebrated after class- at a restaurant or a friend's house. It wasn't that we didn't care, it was simply that there wasn't time or space for parties on campus- and a whole lot of space and time for partying at the end of the day. Despite the fact that other forms of social media shout out the birthday joy, there are rarely any birthdays on Twitter. We're too busy keeping up with the lightning-fast feed to worry about trivial events like another year passing. (Unless we wrote a blog post about the existential meaning of birthdays in general, in which case: #pleaseretweet.)
He said/She said:
Gossip dies quickly on Twitter because the feed moves faster than a ten week course on Spanish literature of the Golden Age. Conversations must be specifically sought out because we really only see snippets of them on the main page. If you tweeted your provocative thought on the true meaning of life, or your snappy comeback to the fake Queen of England more than a day ago, it might as well be the proverbial tree falling in a forest. #nobodywillhearitagain
Volume of information shared:
Like our professors in college, Twitter demands that we be brief but amazing. We only get 144 characters; we must use them wisely. And if we want to appear really stealth and invoke more meaning, we should #useahashmark.
In college, we were offered the opportunity for personal expression. Our connections and friendships didn't define us as much as they offered us a chance to broaden our scope of the world. It was a sign of maturity and open-mindedness to connect with people who didn't necessarily share the same thoughts and opinions. Similarly, on Twitter we are exposed to all sorts of ideas, but we are rarely pressed to like what others like, or agree with the opinions expressed in their tweets. And in order to gain followers and stand out, we will have to set ourselves apart from the crowd and #beanoriginal.