Twitter: an insignificance awareness engine?

On: October 15, 2010
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About ibtisam omer
Hi and hello I am twenty three years old and for the past four years I have studied sociology and media studies in three different places: Stockholm, UK and Hong Kong. I graduated at the University of Essex in July and after that spent a few weeks interning at Global Grind in NY. Now I am here at the UvA and Im just about exploring the fundamentals of my degree, so far so nice. Other than this I was born and raised in Stockholm Sweden , to Eritrean parents. Stockholm being an immensly integrated city, I grew up enjoying a diverse cultral atmosphere. I travel a lot , I eat even more and I love social netwoking platforms; its beauty lays in the opportunity it gives people to exploit a public space introducing individual self projections. ibtisam


@MA_Mel ahaahh nice my twitter makes you smile. If only it made men undress too!!10:17 PM Aug 4th via web from Garment District, New York in reply to MA_Mel

Mentioning your whereabouts, describing your breakfast, sharing links, and replying to other users, then perhaps sharing some more links, these are all essentials within this raid of commentaries shared through tweets.  With a maximum of 140 characters at your disposal, you can talk about any matters you wish. Twitter allows its users to express themselves through text as well as also using attachments of photos. Micro- blogging provides individuals with the means necessary to dictate their own min-information platform.  As practiced through other social networking sites, Twitter exposes a process in which users are entering personal comments onto a public area. A space also shared by non Twitter members, unless one chooses to privatise all of their tweets, your comments are available for anyone knowing your username to see. As a non-user you can only view tweets, yet not comment on them. Using merely 140 characters to express oneself, twitter could to a certain extent be suggested as encouraging people to comment provocatively. Although tweets can consist of any type of writing, the initial idea is that someone will respond to it, thus triggering communication. Even though twitter can be used sporadically, the ultimate achievement is for a thought to be shared and then discussed, hence the ability of replying or even re-tweeting. When re-tweeting you re-post something that someone had written, in some cases followed by your own comment.

it is interesting how when u dont have enough followers its like talking to yourself..on that note. Good night drlemonWed Sep 29 2010 22:53:50 (GMT Daylight Time) via web

These fundamentals of Twitter could be argued as reflecting the earlier ideas of J.Habermas (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere in1962) and the concept of private and public sphere.Habermas argued that the earlier Renaissance concept of public sphere in which only a specific group of authoritative people were allowed to debate and dictate the future of certain societies, was seeing a change. That closed group would now also become influenced by the external individual voices existing outside. The new public sphere saw integration amongst the private individuals and existing authorities.  Today this practice is seen on a greater scale with public figures and journalists receiving direct feedback and comments through online presence. As individuals we have taken on a greater ability to influence various perceptions and ideas developing within our own communities. It is no understatement to claim that Twitter is progressing into multiple forums of discussion, not only as tool of communication, but perhaps even suggested as methods used within specific institutions, such as that of education and even within law enforcement.  So where does Twitter stand at the moment within our social communities? and what direction is the site progressing towards?

People tweet about their daily agendas or specific events, as well as some take photos of their whereabouts.  The more detailed the posts are, the more one is inviting a surveillance factor into your surroundings. While we debate about internet surveillance and intrusion of privacy, we commonly expose ourselves through status updates on Twitter. The platform that is provided by Twitter is so extensive that users are communicating on the same forum as for example celebrities or other high profile individuals. As Twitter posts are accessible to be read by anyone, users have the opportunity of following specific public figures of their choice (that are active on Twitter) directly through their postings, it’s a firsthand interactive source to these peoples’ lives. This could then be suggested as a threat to modern day media, which now sees a change in the information outflow. Journalists are finding themselves having to compete or use Twitter for when producing stories. Twitter presents its Top Tweets everyday and that also allows people to read the stories which have caught the attention of most users, thus filtering the news content for them.

Using Twitter as a second layer of discussion was mentioned by Robyn Twomey writer for Time Magazine in June 2009, whom had attended a conference in Manhattan in which the further usage of Twitter was being debated. The discussion focused primarily on the incorporation of Twitter into education, and similar aspects. The entire meeting was also broadcasted on Twitter, as the members tweeted whilst discussing, this allowed others to follow the debate from the outside. This highlighted the essence of micro blogging which was that of following something in real-time, the content would reach the public instantly rather than transcribed days or weeks later. Not only does it expose the debate, but it gives the readers a direct opportunity to join and comment, Twomey concludes the article suggesting a different approach of engagement through Twitter.

A different approach towards Twitter was seen when UK law enforcement in Manchester had used the site to demonstrate the high level of cases they receive on a daily basis. It was during this month (October) that Greater Manchester police force decided to post all of their incoming phone calls for twenty four hours. They did this with the intention of showing the public the variety in cases that they receive and take on. The engagement and discussion that evolved from this approach was essential, as people were able to ask questions directly to the police and get information on the police matters within their communities.

Twitter is expanding as a social entity that positions micro-blogging in the centre of many different information networks. The future of Twitter is bright as it delivers short and concise information rapidly in a time where people are being overwhelmed by the information outflow.


Habermas. J.,(1962) The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.MIT press: UK

Steven Johnson. How Twitter will change the way we live, . Retrieved on 14 October  from,8599,1902604,00.html

Manchester police Twitters Bulletins. Guardian . com. Rertrieved on 14th October  from:

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