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TWITTER: THE DARK SIDE
INTRODUCTION to On-line Social Networking


Human Society is a Social Medium. The spirit of community created by the Internet predecessors had the core idea of having computers help people communicate with other people well before advent of Twitter, Facebook or MySpace.

 

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Twitter: The Dark Side - INTRODUCTION to On-line Social Networking

Human Society Is, Well, a Social Medium

A hip new kid on the Internet’s block, Twitter, was launched publicly in July 2006 and has since defined itself as a “social networking and microblogging service”. It’s two years older and much bigger Social Networking predecessor, Facebook, introduces itself as “a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them”. In comparison to Twitter, the grand Old Dame of Social Networking, a full six (6) years old MySpace helps you to “find friends & classmates, meet new people, listen to free music, build playlists and share photos”. Welcome to the brave new world of Web 2.0.

( http://www.web2summit.com/web2009 Web2 Summit is the time (October 20 – 22, 2009) and the place (San Francisco, CA) to go and discuss that it is now really the time to put the power of the Web to work—its technologies, its business models, and perhaps most importantly, its philosophies of openness, collective intelligence, and transparency. )


According to the Wikipedia (by itself yet another Social Networking site, a “web-based, collaborative encyclopedia”) Web 2.0 is the second generation of web development and web design that facilitates information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web” and its current cool thingy, Social Networking.

But, people telling stories around a campfire were social gatherings also. When the chief of a neighboring tribe arrived these gathering have, in fact, became social networking events. Where the herd of buffaloes gone has always been valuable information to a hunter, obtainable through the tribes’ social networking.

We, as humans, will always network with other people, individuals and groups alike, in our neighboring bar, church, synagogue, or mosque, as well as at work and play, both on-line and off. Whether such networking happens in a church or in some future Artificial Intelligence based net, social networking will keep going. While it does seem a face-to-face world is slowly fading away, maybe one day in the distant future a bunch of Luddite Rebels would gather in a yard, face-to-facing each other over a barbeque fire, wondering why nobody thought of networking in person before and then we will, as a race, have finished a full circle of our curious evolutionary processes.

 

Internet as a Social Network

Today’s kids communicate texting and LMAO-ing all the way to the school over the Net’s BFMs and abbreviate themselves to the ADDed world we live in. But do they know that “loling” in fact means to be laughing out loud, so it is not to get confused with that most used Internet acronym – “LOL”? Yes they do, but just as most of their parents have no idea what MOS or TDTM means (“Mom Over Shoulder” and “Talk Dirty To Me”) so the young people are most likely ignorant of the ancient Internet terms such as:

  • PRESTEL (a British interactive videotext system),
  • MINITEL (French version of it),
  • NAPLPS (North American Presentation Level Protocol Syntax designed for videotext and teletext),
  • ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) or its predecessor, ARPA.

All these projects were part of the first time-sharing systems that nourished the spirit of community created among the users; i.e. social networking ideas were always behind them. The spirit of community created by the Internet predecessors had the core idea of having computers help people communicate with other people. We note here that coherent human communiations depends upon agreed upon standards, a point we shall return to in the Conclusions and Reccomendatitons of this Case Study

 

Networking at the Speed of Light

 

Marshall McLuhan may have been right when he pronounced: “What may emerge as the most important insight of the twenty-first century is that man was not designed to live at the speed of light,” but boy, we do live at a neck breaking speed indeed.

So now when to google has become a verb (used for the first time on July 8, 1998, by one of Google’s founders, Larry Page himself, who wrote on a mailing list: "Have fun and keep googling!”) you can go and google for Marshall McLuhan. Even thought the company (Google) that boasts corporate slogan – Don’t be Evil – viciously attacked Paul McFedries WorldSpy’s inauguration of the verb google with its infamous “cease and desist” letter (sent via e-mail to McFedries on 24 Feb 2003) you still can go on and rebel a bit and google for whatever you wish, in this case for Marshall McLuhan.

 

Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) boasts 629,000 results for the search term (“Marshall McLuhan”) and states it performed the search in 0.28 seconds! This gets even more staggering if you google for the ubiquitous Paris Hilton; the Google provides you with 45,500,000 results in only 0.06 seconds. Ponder that!

 

Man I Need Coffee so Bad

So as I type this Introduction to our Case Study I almost simultaneously tweet and twink (a twink is a tweet with a link in it) it on the Twitter. My real-time tweet looks like this:

@kwinkers: To Dr. BobLQ -- I just finished our Introduction. Welcome to the World of a Real-Time data (and these are personal).


And voila!, my allocated 140 characters per a Tweet were well used. Were they? Dr. BobLQ and – potentially – millions of Twitter users now know what I am doing this very moment. The question, “How was your day?” may have startled Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld fame (Kramer could have been a First Tweeter: "You talk about your day? How was your day today? Did you have a good day or a bad day?? Well, I don't know. How about you? How was your day?" – 140 characters.), but Twitter has captivated our need to babble and banter, to crack jokes and share tears, to mindlessly gossip and engage in serious conversations, to heat up debates and or to endlessly monologue, to bitch and chat, to text and to read, to shop and to advertise.

The world we live in is the world in which dozens of people simultaneously say/Tweet how they “need coffee so bad” and in which thousands of people, at the same time, wish complete strangers a Good Night once they are logging-off the Twitter Network (“Good Night” term still tops Twitter Trends when, well, people go to bed).

 


PART III: Welcome to the Real-Time World

 



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