Hello my fellow bloggers! As you all know, this is our last week of writing our blogs, which definitely saddens me 😦 At first I thought these blogs were difficult to write, and now I am looking forward to each week I have to write them! I will definitely continue to blog when I can, however I realize I’m coming into a pretty busy time of my life, applying to become a teacher and all.
So what do I want to write about as my final blog topic? I decided that I want to write about something I am clearly addicted to, TWITTER! After reading this weeks article by boyd and Marwick, the article has made me question why I tweet, who I’m tweeting to, and what is my reasoning for using Twitter? I will connect these questions to other theorists we have discussed in this class, such as Clay Shirky (2011) and Castells (2007).
Before I enter the theoretical aspect of this blog, I wish to describe my own experience on Twitter. Here are some screen shots of my Twitter account. As described in “I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter, Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagine Audience,” boyd and Marwick describe the user’s account and self presentation as different compared to those of other social media websites. Self-presentation is presented through “the ongoing tweets and conversations with others, rather than static profiles,” and is “primarily textual rather than visual” (2011, p. 116).
As you can see, my profile is exactly that. It has an image of me, a 140-character “about me” description, a visual header of my little baby hamster Grace (she’s freaking adorable, how could I NOT!?) and of course all of my tweets and conversations.
As you can see, I “follow” more people than I have people “following” me, the ratio being 420:265 respectively, another point addressed in the boyd and Marwick article (2011, p. 116 & 117).
In the article, boyd and Marwick describe how a Tweet answers the question, “What are you doing?” as a way for Tweeters to express how they are feeling in a particular moment, or what they are doing at that particular moment (Ibid). The article by boyd and Marwick makes me question why I tweet, and who I am tweeting to. According to the authors, people have an “imagined audience,” or the potential large and global audience that could read your tweets, and this answers the who I’m tweeting to question. However, boyd and Marwick specifically explain how difficult it is for Twitter users to know their potential audience, let alone actual readers (2011, p. 117).
I use my Twitter account for a variety of reasons: to rant about daily run-ins (missing the bus/o-train, stubbing my toe), talking about football, communicating with my friends, and posting articles that interest me and that I would like for others to see. I mostly use my twitter for my obsession with football, and the Raven’s community that comes together through hashtags and trends on Twitter (i.e. #ravens, #ravensnation, #ibleedpurple, #ballsoharduniversity, just to name a few trends). Here’s a screenshot of my Twitter account from last Sunday’s game:
My Twitter account is in some ways a definite form of “mass self-communication,” a term coined by Castells in his article “Communication, Power and Counter-Power in the Network Society,” (2007). According to Castells, one main component of mass self-communication is that it is “self generated in content, self-directed in emission, and self-selected in reception by many that communicate with many,” (p. 248). I can only say that my Twitter account is an assortment of mass self-communication because not all of my content is self-generated, some of it I have “Retweeted” or “quoted” just because someone else wrote a statement that I was going to write in more-or-less the same way. This is normally the case when I’m watching Ravens football and the actual team profile,@Ravens produce live tweets for the game.
So what is the purpose of my Twitter account, does it have the capability to create social change, as demonstrated in the article “The Political Power of Social Media” by Clay Shirky? As we have demonstrated in class, Twitter definitely has the power to create social change and political activism, as seen through the examples of the Israel Defense Forces Twitter account.
But does my Twitter account have the same potential? I highly doubt it, seeing as my Twitter account is of trivial substance, not of political action. Even though at times I can make my account more politcal (i.e. putting feminist articles or quotes up), but for the most part, my account is used to find a larger, global community of fans of the Baltimore Ravens. For now, my Twitter account will be used to hopefully reach my favourite football players, as was the case on my birthday when @Untouchablejay4, also known as Terrell Suggs, one of the famous Raven’s linebacker, or to become one of the top fans for the Baltimore Raven’s (creating a sense of celebrity status is also addressed in the article by boyd and Marwick.)
So bloggers, I ask you this? Who is your imagined audience, regardless of whatever social media website you use? Why do you tweet/update your status on Facebook?
Also, feel free to add me on Twitter! 🙂
Good luck with your final papers guys, I will miss this class so much ❤