As my column week approached, I grew more and more on edge about what pop culture reference to make and what societal injustice to rant about. I wrestled with which elephant in the room I would address, and after much thought, I decided it wouldn’t be an elephant so much as a bird: the Twitter bird.
Twitter has taken quite the schoolyard lunch money shakedown since its creation in 2006, and I’m proud to say I’m not one of its bullies. People argue that its limitation dumbs our generation down to 140 characters or less.
But is that really Twitter’s doing, or is the majority of our generation just…dumb?
Sure, some people use Twitter as a diary or litter their own timeline with blow-by-blow descriptions of every doctor’s office waiting room they sit through, but those same users treat Facebook as just as much of a microblogging outlet. And as for its limitations, I would argue that Twitter’s character limit exists to cater to our generation’s attention span — or lack thereof.
What was created to be a source for immediate news and personal updates has quickly become one of the most widely recognized catalysts for international change and citizen journalism. From the Arab Spring in 2011, during which social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook acted as imperative news outlets and communication mediums to inform the public of progress during the revolution, to pictures of the 2009 US Airways flight landing safely in the Hudson that spanned the internet through social media, it’s difficult to belittle outlets responsible for informing the public of such historical events.
All I’m saying is that social media gives us a voice, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. It can be used productively, or you can just continue “lifetweeting” (my term for livetweeting your life) about the egg salad sandwich you’re making. But the next time you use social media to complain about how much you hate it, just remember how much it’s done for our generation and the generations to come. Get at me!