Twitter is the world’s favorite 140-character playground. A phenomenon that started out as an exclusive club of techies and geeks, and ended up conquering the public sphere as a whole. Many have praised the service for being a path to democracy and an enabler in a digital age. But it’s true beauty may lie in that it’s as different as its users - all 400 million of them.
Social media powerhouse Twitter is sends out one billion tweets every three days, making it the very pulse of a digital generation.
With more than 400 million active users and 30 official languages, the network is a “beautiful asymmetric network of follows and followers that creates infinite information streams,” says Karen Wickre aka @kvox, Editorial Director of Twitter.
Wickre joined Twitter in 2011 after seeing potential in the service already back in 2008 when she first started tweeting herself. As a news junkie she realized that the micro-blogging service was on its way to creating something very big.
She was right. In 2008 Twitter sent out 27 tweets per second. In 2012, that number had increased to 12,333.
In the same time, Twitter became “a second screen for major live events, like sports, the Oscars and breaking news.”
Anyone who has been seated with eyes on the TV and their thumps on their smartphone’s “refresh” button during #Oscars, #SuperBowl or #WorldCup will know just how true this is.
The hashtag itself has proven a revolution for the digitalized social conversation. To use a fitting metaphor, Wickre says that it has become “like a campfire that people can gather around to see what the conversation is about.”
The true beauty of Twitter, however, is that it can be used in millions of different ways.
Power-tweeting journos, Arab revolutionaries and soccer moms are all part of a digitalized neuron network that has come to define the globalized world. There is no right or wrong.
“Find a rhythm that is comfortable for you,” Wickre tells her audience as the workshop comes to an end. That way, she adds, you will be sure to get the best out of the service, whether you are a seasoned news addict or a curios beginner.
As she steps off the podium, her words have already reached thousands of users across the globe - in cyberspace, through tweets and retweets, fueling the campfire and carrying on the conversation.