Twitter has gripped the attention of millions around the planet with its 140 character SMS style microblogging service. It reached 100 million active users recently and has also crossed 5bn tweets. A large number of heads of state and celebrities use Twitter daily to talk to their fans and followers. Ok so that’s enough of facts, isn’t it?
But then can Twitter cultivate real friendships? Do people search for real friendships here? What would define a real friendship? Can real friendships exist on social networks where people may actually fake their identities? I am sure many of these questions would be swirling in the readers mind. Let’s take it one by one.
Twitter is different from other social networks in one simple thing. One can follow anyone and everyone from a normal person to a celebrity. This means that I could tweet to a guy sitting in Alaska and become his / her regular online friend something which Facebook, Orkut etc. never allowed one to do. But then there are multiple things one needs to consider here.
1. Information short lived?: -Twitter is essentially a tool where information is pretty short lived. What this means is that since people keep talking about general topics all the time, a particular kind of information may not be in discussions for a long time. Say India has lost a cricket match today to England. People will discuss about it only for a few hours and if something else happens tomorrow like Anna’s protest in Ramila, tweets would begin to flow on that and the match would be forgotten. Though there are hash tags (#) to encourage information retention, it still gets really difficult to retain the interest of the people on a topic for long.
2. Timepass?:- Twitter is more of a pastime for a lot of users. Whether its having mindless conversations or starting crazy hash tags, Twitter is a place for relaxation for a lot many.
3. Celebrities abound?:- A lot many people on Twitter are presently there just because there are many celebrities around or because its a trend. Say a person like Poonam Pandey started using Twitter to post her motivational pics and got news coverage. Seeing this a person got interested and finally joined Twitter just to follow her and enjoy the coverage.
Obviously everyone doesn’t come in the category of the above three. There are many who use it for passing on information, having opinions on different events or simply trying to befriend others.
But since the above three hold true to a large extent, Twitter by itself would fail miserably in cultivating real friendships. Obviously I am sure that wasn’t one of Jack Dorsey’s or Biz Stone’s aims when they began it.
But where it stands today, Twitter would no doubt be able to cultivate friendships in partnership with Facebook, Gtalk and the mobile phone.
That’s the logical path –
Twitter —> Facebook (And / Or) Gtalk —-> Phone —-> Face to Face meeting
I would leave all of you with two questions to ponder.
– Are you really searching for a friend on Twitter?
– Don’t you get scared of him / her having a fake identity?