Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, July 11, 2010

While you were sleeping

So, I wasn't sure what to write about this week. And though I do form an opinion about almost anything, I rarely speak that opinion - not after getting married at least.

However, this piece got my attention.

It was a light read that basically narrates a few twitter experiences and how, according to author, twitter is bridging gaps and making folks talk to each other, politicians, businesses, communities and individuals.

Yeah, sure... why not.

But I'd be careful not to totally credit twitter for that so called recent collaboration, because people have been congregating, meeting and collaborating online for quite sometime and WAY before there was any Tweeting.

Internet forums and message boards were the first form of social media and community inter-collaboration. It was genre-driven and for those with common interests. Access is discretionary and you had to be active -and geeky- enough to be a member there.

Around the first half of 2000's, the blog became the center-stage of public engagement and interactivity. Blogs made people feel more at ease in talking about their "feelings" about anything .. emotions, brands, governments. It allowed us to back our "feelings" up with multimedia (photos, video ... etc). It was the big-bang that started an era pseudo-narcissistic self expression and publishing. Some people argue that blogging is dead, I personally don't think so.

The second half of 2000 was all about Facebook. Enough said.

And yes, people organised events, interacted with their leaders and favorite restaurants and talked amongst each other. Charity events [Gaza, earthquake reliefs ..etc], business activities [conferences, meetings ..etc], and even political [elections, campaigns..].

All of that was happening before Twitter. You just had to be part of the community and follow whats going on.

HOWEVER... with the enhancement of mobile Internet; its reach, access and affordable-ity; it became much easier for folks to have fast Internet, on capable devices [BBs, iPhones] with relatively affordable cost.. [if you live outside the Middle East, of course]

Then Twitter came along.. and unless you locked your twitter page, ANYONE can access the on-going conversations on Twitter. It was light on the web and the device, easy to setup/use and anyone can have one. Now, news follow you, not the other way around.

That was the novelty. Twitter was in the right place at the right time.

However, one must realize that Twitter is merely a distribution platform. People use it to spread the word. (some annoying ones use it as a chat site, but thats not the case here)

People have been using online platforms for a very long time, and the fact that people didn't hear or know about them, doesn't mean they didn't exists. It simply meant that some weren't in the picture.

When it comes to making and forming opinions, twitter is NOT the place, blogs are. You can definitely use twitter to inform folks about your opinion [thank you tinyURL!], you can send snippets of that opinion in oddly written, vowel-less 140 characters, but you'd always want to point to your blog - or opinion piece section in the newspaper.

And when it comes to collaboration and content sharing and generation, Facebook -whether you like it or not- will still lead the pack for the coming near future.

If we understand the difference between social media platforms, understand the thin red line that breaks them apart, perhaps we will end up with a world where politicians will tweet/collaborate a bit more themselves [I (heart) Queen Rania btw!], and restaurants that do better sandwiches than they do tweeting about them.

Now RT that if you like...

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4 Comments:

  • I agree. Forums were the first form of collaboration and social media. Twitter gets the hype and credit because celebrities & famous public figures endorse/use it. I have to admit though, I used to actively post on forums. Since Twitter came along, I rarely do.

    PS. Easier to retweet if you add a share/tweet button :-)

    By Blogger Arabianism, at July 11, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

  • Granted Mr. MK

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 11, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

  • Allah yer7am ayyam el forums! But they're still alive and kicking, just more concentrated to the geeks and tech issues.

    Like you said Twitter is merely just another step and will last till the next hype comes along.

    Blogs are not dead. Don't forget that loads of those tiny urls on twitter point to blogs and articles

    By Blogger KJ, at July 11, 2010 at 2:32 PM  

  • Nicely said Mory. Blogs, shall always be the place I'd write, share and hear it all out. It gives so much more to all. I never got the twitter fever -- don't have an account. Perhaps it's coz I'm not a twit? Nah that can't be :D I do miss some of those soulful blogs from 'back in the day' though.

    By Blogger rosh, at July 13, 2010 at 3:27 AM  

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