The world atwitter

All great ideas seem to start on the back of a cocktail napkin or in the crumpled pages of an old notepad. The “When ‘X company’ began, few people could anticipate the significance of the business today” storyline is dangerously close to a cliché. In some cases, though, it’s simply true.

Twitter is one of those cases.

As the commonly accepted history of Twitter has it, the idea for the site was conceived in the head of one of the its founders, Jack Dorsey. Eventually, he, and maybe a few others, jotted down that idea on the ruled lines of a well-used legal pad.

In 2006, Twitter was not much more than an interesting start-up. In 2012, it is ubiquitous. A middle-school student can use Twitter to lament about piles of homework, while a seasoned journalist can use the same platform to find sources and break major stories.

The saturation of Twitter in almost every area of modern culture elevates its significance, and the website has completely changed the way news is shared.

Twitter is at the center of several major issues today, from the blurring of private and public life in the long-term, to the 2012 election in the short-term. It is a leading agent in the field of social media that is steadily changing the way we live.

Undoubtedly, the site’s effects should be analyzed and studied.

That’s what I aim to do with this blog. I’ve used Twitter, actively at times and scarcely at others, for the better part of two years. Beyond a single tweet or shared image, though, that use has been relatively thoughtless.

A quick examination of news in just the last week reveals several important stories that would not exist without Twitter, from a judge’s insistence that the company release tweets sent from one account related to Occupy Wall Street, to viewer reactions during the third night of the Democratic National Convention.

These are just two examples of the complex relevance of Twitter. They are at the root of what I hope to cover in this blog during the coming months. Enjoy reading.

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