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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Sociology of Twitter

With news that Twitter's entire backlog of tweets will be headed for the Library of Congress, will this open broader channels for sociology-based research using the micro-blog medium? I'd definitely be interested in a study on celebrities who have foregone their agents wishes and posted incriminating tweets and how this effects their careers. Really, I think this opens up possibilities of assessing Twitter for usefulness - what are people actually Tweeting about and what relevance that holds for the individual, the local community and the global community. There's a lesson in their for students on their contextual use of the internet - what is the bigger picture and what is it really all about. The transparency of posting online content should open our eyes to something more - it makes us community members on a global scale.

2 comments:

  1. Unfortunately the link to the article is not showing up in my post, so here it is:

    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/twitters_entire_archive_headed_to_the_library_of_c.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+readwriteweb+%28ReadWriteWeb%29&utm_content=Twitter

    (You may need to rather clunkily copy and paste the url - alternatively, the article was posted as part of Mark's Twitter feed.)

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  2. Matt, I think you're spot on with your final comment. Twitter, like all of these social web tools, allows us to engage with large numbers of others in relatively democratic, horizontal networks, rather than remaining confined in vertical social structures which limit our access to and interactions with each other. Naturally, there are those who are unsettled by such open access - including, notably, the middlemen (middlepeople?) who have traditionally acted as gatekeepers between celebrities and the public. Of course, as you say, there are celebrities - and for that matter, plenty of non-celebrities - who have misunderstood the amplified nature of communication through the network and suffered the consequences of posting too much private information in too public a space ...

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