Opinion Blog: Why No One Is Too Good to Tweet

April 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Steve Thompson

As a young college journalist, it is somewhat expected of me to be knowledgeable about the latest news. It is even more assumed that I am updating my Twitter and Facebook statuses constantly. Until recently, I had no desire inform the world that I “just had an awesome meal at Fabi + Rosi in Austin” or the fact that I’m “studying in Fondren again. Ugh!” But with the influx of Twitter accounts by important and sophisticated institutions, why should I be above tweeting?

Celebrities were the first to jump on the Twitter train, as I like to call it. Many of them said it was a way to connect with their fans. But we have seen even more of them use it in much more dramatic ways. John Mayer used the 140-word platform to issue an apology in February after using the N-word in a Playboy interview. P!nk stood up for her fellow girl-power singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on Twitter after Kanye West interrupted Swift on stage at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards. And infamous gossip blogger Perez Hilton even used Twitter to notify police of an alleged assault he suffered from Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am.
After reviewing these events, does that mean I should immediately turn to my Twitter next time I am mad at my parents or say something inappropriate in public? Probably no. That would never solve the issue. But was that really the goal of the celebrities? I’m not sure the police ever came to Hilton’s rescue, or Taylor Swift and P!nk became BFFs. Those tweets did nothing more than give them a little more publicity in the following week.

I’m a Texas college student. I don’t need publicity. So I thought I didn’t need Twitter.

Then all the news organizations got in on it and even politicians started using the site to voice their opinions. But what really made me rethink my lack of Twitter activity was when the White House joined. Maybe Twitter could be used for valid and highly informational purposes. A quick glance at the White House Twitter page suggests otherwise.

Check out this tweet from the White House yesterday: “You’re upset b/c you missed @justinbieber at the WH aren’t you? On again in a couple minutes. It’s ok. http://wh.gov/live 1:41 PM Apr 5th via web.” Bieber isn’t the only celebrity taking up some White House staffer’s time. JK Rowling, Sara Barielles and the cast of Glee were also topics of discussion. Don’t worry! The President’s statement on Nuclear Posture Review did make the tweet cut. The White House Press Secretary is also on Twitter.

He recently posted about baseball. Maybe that isn’t the worst thing.

Tweeting about everyday nuances is what Twitter is all about, so I guess I can’t expect top government institutions to not join in on the fun.

After following the trends of Twitter in the past year, I realized that people actually do care about where their friends went to dinner last Saturday or what celebrities like Ashton Kutcher are up to. Actually, more people care about Kutcher than CNN. Why shouldn’t people care about me? My newfound love of Twitter is something that I never thought I’d admit. The idea that anyone or anything can be news is what makes Twitter so great. It can give people a big head, but with a 140-word limit people can’t get too pompous. This idea of individual broadcasts and little blurbs of news may be where news is headed. It’s easy and incorporates everyone from the White House to a lowly college student. If this is the future, I’m not about to be left behind.

What do you think? Is tweeting not for everyone? Or is it going to continue to change our social interactions and news? Leave a comment.