JellyBaby's Blog

Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Twitter

Obsessed with twitter? Well you might want to take a look at this: 10 things you need to stop tweeting about. Go on, be honest. Have you ever tweeted about something on that list? I have to admit that I have. I often find myself updating my followers on the most mundane aspects of my life from what my cats are doing to what I’ve had for lunch.

Some people might think that is the whole point of Twitter – letting people know about every single thing that goes on in your life. To an outside observer this makes the micro-blogging site seem pointless and more than a little egocentric. But I can assure you that Twitter has many other uses apart from telling the world things that the world doesn’t need to know.

Journalists have already noticed that Twitter is changing the way we receive our news. Previously the public would have to read a newspaper, watch the news or visit a website to find out what’s going on in the world. Now, Twitter updates mean that news is getting out faster than ever before. Trending topics show what is being talked about by users the world over.

Twitter also means that the people in the midst of news stories can update on what is going on. Following the Hudson river plane crash, the first photo of the event was posted on Twitter. During the Iranian elections this year, Twitter was used to update the world on what was going on with first-hand, up to the minute tweets. Twitter was also used to get around the gagging order imposed on the press during the Carter-Ruck case, thereby creating more publicity than they could have ever imagined.

Twitter can also be used to aid charities, thanks to the ease of re-tweeting. Charity is not really the type of thing you might talk about with your friends but thanks to Twitter it’s easy to let your followers know about causes close to your heart, urge them to sign petitions or give donations to charity. They can then re-tweet your message, causing a snowball effect. Read this blog for more information.

It is also a brilliant marketing tool. Most Twitter users follow at least a few celebrities and this gives the stars a means to contact their fans directly. Before Twitter they would have to depend on interviews for this, and this could cause things said to be taken out of context, but now they can immediately tweet about rumours or stories without having to use the press. They can also let followers know about gigs, TV programmes, movies, interviews or music releases and post photos that make us feel closer to our favourite celebs.

So if you think Twitter is all about meaningless blabber I would urge you to think again; it has depths beyond simply telling people about your breakfast and is changing the way we receive our news and interact with those in the public eye.

Last month, 17 year old Ashleigh Hall from County Durham went to meet a 16 year old boy she had met on social networking site Facebook. Now, her family and friends are grieving after she was found murdered in a field at the end of October. 32 year old sex-offender Peter Chapman has been arrested for her murder.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo have become one of the most popular ways to keep in touch with friends. Most of my friends have at least one social networking site, and I myself have a Facebook and Twitter profile. They are a handy way to chat to my mates and find out what others are doing, all from the comfort of my home.

But they also have a dark side, as this tragic story shows. While most people use these sites for good we seem to be hearing more and more stories of paedophiles using them to groom victims and people who bully others from behind a computer screen.

On Facebook, I have a strict rule that I only accept friend requests from people I know, but not everyone does. On these sites it is often seen as “cool” to have a friends list that reaches into the thousands, regardless of whether these people are real friends or not. On MySpace, it is common practise to join groups with the sole intention of gaining more friends.

With warnings of the dangers of the internet everywhere you turn it makes you wonder why are young people so naive?  Why do so many people ignore the dangers when they accept a request off someone they don’t know?

I feel that perhaps low self-confidence is a factor. Teenage girls often suffer from low self-confidence. Imagine a girl who hates her looks, feels ignored or bullied at school. Perhaps they feel better when an older man compliments them on Facebook. Many girls want to be popular – what better way to look popular than to have thousands of friends on MySpace? Growing self-esteem can cause common sense to go out of the window.

Teenagers who are at risk of social networking sickos need to know the dangers. But perhaps if self-confidence was of more importance we would hear less of these disturbing tales?

 

Twitter

It was news that struck dread into the hearts of tweens everywhere. Pop princess Miley Cyrus was deleting her Twitter account, and she wasn’t coming back. The reaction this caused was insane. What would her two million followers do without her constant tweets? One crazed fan even threatened to kill her own cat unless Miley returned to the micro-blogging world.

Twitter has been one of this year’s biggest success stories. It’s users update their followers using 140 word “tweets”, sharing both mundane and important details. It has also become a quick and convenient way for celebrities to share information with their fans, with everyone from Boris Johnson to Britney Spears having their own accounts.

But recently it seems that Twitter is falling out of favour with celebrities. Miley Cyrus deleted her account after claiming that she spent so much time updating her profile that she was forgetting to enjoy life. Lily Allen hasn’t updated her profile since September, and Stephen Fry threatened to get rid of his after someone called his posts “boring”.

Number one rapper Chipmunk has also expressed his frustration with Twitter, claiming that he was only going to use his account to update people on work and not his personal life as it was too easy for people to insult him and misconstrue things he tweeted.

That is where the problem lies. Twitter gives celebs a platform to reach their fans but it also makes it easier for people to reach celebs, and not everyone is friendly. Sending messages to the stars can now be as quick and easy as sending a text and this is used for good and bad. While many people use Twitter to send messages of support to stars, there are also those who use it to insult, criticise and be downright nasty to those in the public eye. While a celebrity could simply choose not to read a newspaper or magazine that is saying nasty things about them, it’s much harder to ignore tweets that are often sent straight to their phone. It’s no wonder that they might think of leaving the site.

Unfortunately, there’s not much they can do about it. Sure, they could block someone, or report the abuse to Twitter and get an account deleted, but the next day there’s bound to be someone else willing to slag them off.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future we see more and more stars getting fed up with Twitter. While it is an excellent marketing tool and a great way to keep in touch with supporters it takes a very thick skin to put up with being criticised on a daily basis. Who will be the next big star to “do a Miley”? Will more household pets be in danger? Only time will tell.