Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Twitter and the future

At times it feels as if Jack Dorsey introduced Twitter at about the same time Bill Gates introduced Microsoft, but in truth Twitter has been around for less than six years! Twitter’s dominance of the instant news world is undoubted, and clearly evidenced by the fact that reputed news analysts and commentators now refer to Twitter as the sources of their reportage. Within mere seconds on any given day, trending topics are identified and the world is abuzz with the same emotions. Considering the fact that over 340 million tweets are issued daily, and over 1.6 billion queries are searched daily by over 140 million people, now seems an appropriate time to ask a very important question: “How will Twitter shape the future?”

Twitter has already empowered a generation of news junkies to have their headlines aggregated and delivered right on their smart phones and laptops, has spurred many a revolution around the world and has given many a politician an avenue to embarrass themselves. Beyond these, Twitter has proven to be a very sophisticated tool for genuine political discourse. The issues of the day are frequently discussed by opinion makers and policy makers alike, which affords an observing public to decipher the direction in which the world is moving. Topics ranging from politics to the economy, sports, music, fashion, pop culture and trivia are constantly generated and never again will an internet-connected citizen have an excuse for not being informed. Times have changed!

As election season gears up in the USA, politicians are taking to Twitter to address the pressing issues of the times, and get reasonable feedback. Through trending hashtags and retweets, politicians are able to get their followers behind them and analyze the popularity of their ideas; this is a groundbreaking innovation that can be utilized for endless means! Gone are the days when politicians were clueless about the veracity of their ideas; gone are the days when a great speech languishes on Youtube waiting to be searched out; gone are the days when citizens had no direct contact with their elected officials – Twitter makes all things possible.

So how will Twitter shape the future? The crystal ball is difficult to interpret but undoubtedly, more and more citizens of different countries will gain enlightenment of global issues and contribute to discussions on topics of interest to them. With the explosion of internet access across the world and the mass production of smart phones and other gadgets that enable users to access social media tools, with increased awareness of services like Twitter, citizen engagement and improved governance will hopefully take on new dimensions. Politicians will hopefully utilize these tools to better decipher the desires of their constituents and citizens will hopefully better hold their elected officials to accountability; economic analyses of complex issues will hopefully be simplified for the layman to understand and more revolutions will hopefully be sparked in the darkest corners of the earth.

Of the existing social networking services, Twitter seems strongly positioned to foster concision while being explicit, protect privacy while being accessible, and ensure continuity of important discourses without crowding out the multiplicity of ideas. The possibilities are endless; we can only ride this wave as long as it lasts and hope that the future is as bright as it promises to be! Go planet!  

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