Twitter: My Experience in This Interesting and Confusing World


This week I conducted an interesting assignment on Twitter. I add 10 new people to my twitter account @lorrain_yi and create a list of Nature and History. As an initiatory user of twitter, I opened my account around two months ago with merely 19 followers and I still find a lot of area waiting for me to explore in the application. Before this week, I didn’t push myself to utilize the app to get information and to absorb American social network culture. And after I googled and found some interesting people and brands to follow, I think I opened a new world.

It is easy to compare Twitter with Weibo in China, for they have very similar characters. And I check my Weibo account many times a day, which makes me adapt to Twitter as soon as possible.

I started my exploration from searching for opinion leaders. The ten new people I recently followed are all of thousands of followers and express their unique perspective on Twitter. Their fields vary, from politics including Bernie Sanders, Donald J. Trump, entertainment including Kat Dennings, Kim Kardashian West, technology including Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and so on. Some of them I already knew before, and the rest I got to know them by looking through what they have tweeted. I also intended to acquire more knowledge of American culture, so I created a list on nature and history and search for accounts that are related and interesting.

Once I began to find out what these people are doing and what things they are sharing on Twitter, I gradually raise the habit of checking the app several times a day. The most interesting I find in my twitter feed this week is the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Just on 16th September, Hillary posted about 20 tweets that directly pointed out the different flaws of Trump, while Trump seldom replied and focused on his campaign activity these days. The vivid contrast really impressed me on the campaign culture of America. A recent video made by Hillary team tells about an old veteran’s reaction after watching Donald speech is really compelling. I find out that in the president campaign, even a small mistake will be extracted exaggerated by opponents, thus personal image management is crucial during the who process.

Crandall and Cunningham denotes hashtag as a beautiful and confusing part for activism (2016). And Brock pointed out that “examining egregious online racism while ignoring more subtle, structural forms of online discrimination is problematic” (2012, p. 546). They all highlight hashtag activism.

From my experience, I consent the two sides of hashtag and its effect. On the one hand, when we click hashtag, we can access to a more focused topic and is easy to find specific information, which is the premise of view collection and respond. A strong and striking hashtag can promote the topic to a wider discussion and participation. On the other hand, a stack of hashtags make people dizzy and confused, and many useless information attach to hashtags that can distract attention. I sometimes post tweets with hashtags myself, but I just get annoyed when searching for hashtags and find useless information.

Another experience I find not so comfortable is that the replies under each tweet is combined with video and pictures. I prefer them to be as precise as possible, with only characters, so that I can clearly know what people’s reaction toward the tweet, since I’m really interested in it.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. oalbishri says:

    Hi Yi,
    You mentioned something called “Weibo” which I never heard of it before, and I wonder if it is only available in China. Your post also made me think why a particular social media platform is widely used in one country than other social media networks. For example, why Facebook and not Twitter is heavily used in one country? To explain more, Twitter is used by Egyptians but not as nearly as Facebook. On the other hand, Facebook is used also by Saudis but not as nearly as Twitter. Saudi Arabia has more than 40% Twitter’s users of the entire Arab World. So, I hope during our work in this course comes to find an answer for this question: why a certain country is attached to one social media platforms more than others?
    In General, your post includes many interesting points especially, your discussion of the use of social media in current US presidential campaigns.


  2. 10 new people: Your people are super-famous. It’s possible you might find more interesting tweets among less-famous people, like journalists, or film directors, photographers, artists … In my opinion, the super-famous do not try to have a conversation, but the less-famous people often do.

    List: You made the list, but you did not write about your experience using the list. Also, you did not compare the two experiences: (1) people you followed; (2) using the list.

    Refs to articles: Okay, but just about hashtags. There is much more than that in the articles.


  3. About your comment on Lin’ao’s post: You said the book Amusing Ourselves to Death mentioned social media. I do not think that is possible, because that book was published in 1985.


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