What is the use of Twitter? What to do with Twitter?

I am a Facebook user for years, but I can’t figure out what I can do with Twitter. What is the use of Twitter? This is probably the question most frequently asked by our cyber-readers.
The two social networks, Twitter and Facebook, gain popularity almost at the same time, but apart this, they don’t have much in common, even the user “type” who uses them has different abilities and behaviors.
Facebook is a simple tool very intuitive that provides a space where the user can openly share his thoughts, post images, make remarks, a sort of personal diary based especially on the bond between people, on the personal network of friendships and relatives.
The Facebook user can daily organise his own space sharing his own “post-thoughts” often enriched with images, commenting the posts of his friends, playing, creating albums with photos of his holiday and so on…
Twitter is a social tool as simple as Facebook, characterized by great potentialities, but whose principles (rules) of use are not immediately deducible. First of all the space to share the “tweet-thoughts” is not unlimited; the user has 140 characters to express a concept, a rather significant limit, especially for the “type” user Facebook, used to think (and post) limitless.
What shall we propose in 140 characters??? Short comments, value judgments, aphorisms, but above all, suggestions and references to other contents present online.
A tweet example?
“I have found this fantastic BLOG that reports the latest of internet #internet #sociology  https://worldtwodotzero.wordpress.com/
This tweet is of 113 characters (there are 27 left!!) and contains a suggestion, two hashtags or rather words that mark it (tag it) and the link to be selected for reading the mentioned blog.
Therefore on Twitter we can insert “simple sentences” direct and immediate or “suggestions” to look into somewhere else, but we cannot tell anything we rather underline, “we launch“, we provide a further reading, points to be consider or discussed.
Other important rules to keep in mind on Twitter:

  • Every tweet must be meaningful, it can’t be written a text of 1.400 characters in ten tweets one after another because it doesn’t make sense; nobody will read in sequence your tweets.
  • Avoid the Q&A, if you want to answer to a tweet use the function “reply“.
  • If you want to quote a certain user in the tweet, you can write his name adding the character ‘@ ‘ before it. The user will receive a notification and maybe he will participate in the debate. You may quote our @Mondo2puntozero only to practice your twitter use.
  • If you have just read a tweet that you like and you want to share it, you can do it through the action called “retweet“. The retweet brings the original source without modifying it in any way.
  • Twitter is a tremendously fast tool and only the most reactive and trendy users keep up with it.

What are the strong points of this “synthetic” social network? The first one is exactly the hashtag, if a tweet is tagged, through one or more words preceded by the character “#”, your message will be aggregated with all the other tweets that have the same tag and it will be read by all the users who are interested in that precise topic (suggested by that tag). Our example tweet will be proposed together with all the tweets that contain the term #sociology along with all the tweets that contain the term #internet. The users who look for inspiration in the sociological or technological area may track it down with a simple search.
The aggregative power of a hashtag is very strong; for example I can write a comment with the tag #xf8 and right away get aggregate with all the tweets devoted to the TV Show XFactor , the eighth edition. Some of the radio transmissions and TV programs have found in this tool a “bridge” toward internet, every user has a say and the best tweets are made public during the transmission or, if they are lucky, in some of the TV programs they appear at the bottom of the video screen.
Then, of course, overturning the principle, I can look for the hashtags present online and read the most recent “tweet-thoughts” of other users, browse dynamic lists, always updated by suggestions on the matter; for instance regarding my favorite musical band (let’s say #queen) or my favorite football team or the current final (for instance #JuveLazio see the following image), or the gossip scandal of the moment, or the political reform under discussion in parliament and so on…
Twitter provides also a funny service, a sort of Hit of the most used tags of the last period, always up-to-date and available also per places, allowing us to participate in the most trendy, popular or “of the moment” debates. The service is visible on our twitter space, on the box “trends” as well as callable online as TwitterTrends (here also in mobile version).
Twitter allows us therefore to follow the latest trends, dynamically aggregated through the hashtags. Each of us can follow, on twitter, debates on topics of interest or just debates on trendy terms.

twitter_trendsAs a matter of fact, Facebook provides the possibility to insert hashtags into the text as well as to find them, but the application by users is until now very limited, also because the Facebook user likes above all to tell about himself and share everything with his friends, there is often a bond between the “posts”, while the aggregation for tag is extremely casual and extemporaneous, often functional with the current fashion.
What about our friends? With Twitter the plot of friendships is less determining comparing to Facebook, maybe for the characteristics listed before or rather for the shortness of the exchanged messages as well as the possibility that these ones may end up aggregated on many lists on the bases of the tags presence.
You can choose online the users who write the best tweets, similar to your interests, obviously your friends too, and follow them through the action called “following“. In this way on the central part of your space twitter, after the insertion of the password, you can read the tweets regarding the topics or persons you intend to follow. The list of the tweets sent by those who interest you is always updated.

lista_FOLLOWINGVice versa for those who consider your Twitter interesting; they may follow you becoming your followers.
Unlike Facebook, the absence of bonds and the failed popularity is not a big limit; I may not have friends (followers) and I may not want to follow anyone (followings), but I sure may quote online other users or through ‘@’ debate with them, or reply or retweet or comment on “trendy” arguments.
You don’t need virtual friends to use Twitter!! The important thing is to be, to browse attentively the other twitters and, of course, follow @Mondo2puntozero.
In essence, the element that characterizes the great Twitter users is the agility, the ability to read and move among topics.
Today the popularity starts with a tweet: politicians, men and women in the performing arts, journalists, sportspeople, eminent scientists, … everyone run after the “right” hashtag with the aim of reaching higher popularity.
So what are you waiting for? Create your Twitter user, insert your first tweet suggesting a site you like then try to follow the current trends and, above all, our @Mondo2puntozero.


Facebook a social tool for older people?

smart_changesLet us imagine for a moment that we are in one of our cities and equipped with a questionnaire we begin asking the name of a social network or better which one is the most used social network online? With all the probabilities we’ll get a plebiscite for Facebook. Facebook is the social network par excellence, through this tool was found the first global social web composed by hundreds of millions of knots, real or virtual it really does not matter. Because of Facebook many of us have started to use internet practically daily, interacting, expressing our feelings in front of the computer, having a cyber chat. Yet, according to the statistics, Facebook seems to go through a downturn, the following diagram (from global web index source) underlines the increasing indifference toward Facebook, no more a daily tool! The number of the daily active users has gone down during the last couple of years from over 80% to just over 50% of the members, a significant change for an important part of the users. . facebook_active_usersObviously these data must be carefully carried out and cross-checked with other indicators. However it is undeniable that in the 2013-2014 period, therefore in a rather large period of time for a social tool, for a good part of its members a change has happened in the day-to-day use of Facebook. Hundreds of millions of users, especially the youngest ones, are moving toward tools denominated “instant messenger”, fast , intuitive and low cost tools, available on smartphones, first of all Apple’s iMessage, Skype, QQ and, most of all, WhatsApp. This first social migration, a virtual diaspora, has its origins in various and concomitant factors, among these we quote:

  • The accessibility of these services on smartphone, always in our pocket.
  • A simple interface with an uncomplicated guideline, easily intuitive.
  • (Often) The absence of publicity
  • The possibility to easily send messages toward a group, to channel interests and contents toward a specific bunch of people.
  • The possibility to represent / personalise some aspects, (configurations which differ from an App to another), such as: soundproofing some communications, persons or groups, changing the background, etc…
  • The use of real friendship circles, based on phone numbers, tangible contacts and the consequent risk reduction to interact with “fake profiles”.

To sum up, a new generation of smart tools, quicker and lighter, more exclusive, are progressively replacing the traditional social tools, in vogue for almost one decade. It is interesting to observe how this evolution, still in its early stage, is accepted more by the youngest, great smartphones’ users, willing to welcome without hesitations new tools, experiencing new contexts. Probably in the next couple of years the “over 45” will be more involved in this “migration” towards instant messages. It is also important to underline how the “present” social tools have determined this acceleration toward the IMs. In fact, tools like Facebook have extended our net of friends and they have emotionally exposed us. Now the instant messengers allow us to timely address our messages, not to everybody but to a precise group of people, rationalise our emotional choices and speed up our communications. Furthermore, when it comes to novelty, all of us, especially the youngest ones, want to try it! The following diagram, source “Statista“, highlights the increasing global trend of WhatsApp. whatsapp_trendIn reply to all this, Facebook, the social network’s colossus, took immediately some countermeasures, one of this being the creation of a new IM tool denominated “Facebook messenger” which has kept loyal a significant part of users. Another one is the purchase of WhatsApp for 19 (or 22?) billion dollars and last but not least the activation of techniques of participation (email marketing) based on the constant emails to its members. Practically the stepmother, tired to hear from the magic mirror that Snow White is more beautiful than she is, has decided to have a facelift and a liposuction and then, simply to bribe Snow White (perhaps with the purpose of locking her in the castle? Who knows…) From the strategic point of view these are excellent moves, before being eroded (perhaps devoured?) by an expanding phenomenon, the result of the social acceleration online, Facebook provides an “instant” version to all of its users and at the same time, due to its well-known availability of money, incorporates the most emerging part of the IM phenomenon in order to keep under control its spreading as well as the large audience involved. Our relational universe is evolving very fast! We use faster and faster tools, interactive and instant. We are more and more addicted to social tools in order to communicate with our friends and relatives. Facebook has changed the web and our habits. It permitted us to build our first emotional-relational network, it has made it global, but now the web proceeds towards a direction even more instant. The change is so sudden, dazzling and unpredictable, that even Facebook launches on the market a “smart” and “instant” version of itself, increasing as well its promotional commitment to its members and, at the same time, managing the one that was, till few months ago, its main rival.

One last consideration regarding the privacy: with the diffusion of the IM on our smart phones what will happen with our comments, our photos and our contacts? Let us say, at best, it will be an “overexposure“… Only one decade has passed and we are only at the beginning of World 2.0, who knows what needs to happen?


 In thanking the “Global Web Index” and “Statista” for the contents examined in detail published online, we remind you that WorldTwoDotZero is only a game, a web walk to take together, it doesn’t have any commercial purpose.