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article imageOp-Ed: Twitter turned 6 on March 21, or did it?

By Anne Sewell     Mar 23, 2012 in Internet
Twitter, the famous micro-blogging website apparently had its 6th birthday on 21 March 2012, but others say the birthday is actually on 15 July. Whichever it is, Twitter is having a major effect in the world.
Which is it?
According to Webpro News, at 12:50 pm on March 21st, 2006, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent out the first ever tweet which read “just setting up my twttr.”
But the Atlantic Wire clearly remembers celebrating Twitter's 5th birthday on 15 July 2011. That website stated that five years before, Biz Stone launched the website Twittr (original spelling of Twitter), and referred to it as "a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS," on his personal site.
Whatever the actual birth date is, Twitter is growing exponentially and is reporting that they now have 140 million active users.
Twitter has been used for good and bad. Tweets have overturned governments, totally embarrassed tweeters, and got people arrested.
Just 140 characters can do a lot it seems.
According to RT, editorial columnist and author, Ted Rall said: “A tweet should really be just a random utterance, and I feel that it should be held to almost zero standard whatsoever. It’s really just a brain fart.”
It is Rall's opinion that while Twitter can do good, i.e. in the Arab Spring in Egypt, it can also be used to manipulate public opinion:
“A book has a higher standard of fact-checking than a column does. A column has a higher standard than a blog. A tweet is the lowest circle of fact,” said Rall.
Digital Journal recently reported that the NYPD was looking for a Twitter user who made an inappropriate tweet after the recent Occupy Wall Street anniversary protest. The tweeter, "Smackema1" living in Florida, sent a joke tweet on 17 March saying: “we won’t make a difference if we don’t kill a cop or 2.”
In the video above, media critic and blogger Danny Schechter says: “Recently, Occupy Wall Street – somebody, we don’t know who, posts a message that says “cops should be killed” – ok? My guess is the cops posted it, because then, you know, they were the ones that reacted to it, made it a story.”
Matthew Lee, an Inner City Press journalist, who covers the United Nations extensively, says: “You have some very misleading tweets from the members of the Security Council. They’re kind of using it for propaganda. They are like, today we said…! It’s very selective. They don’t want reporters to find out what happened in a closed door meeting but they’re tweeting things that are often false from inside them.”
Reckless twitter posts have caused tweeters to be embarrassed, hated and fired from their jobs.
The now-former Congressman, Anthony Weiner is probably the most humiliating story to come from Twitter. His name seems rather appropriate in this instance, as he made the mistake of tweeting a photo of his private parts, to very bad effect.
Journalist Don Debar advises: “Weiner is a model of what’s not to do. If I were ever going to cheat on my wife, I don’t think I would start by broadcasting it over Twitter.”
Megan Carpentier, Raw Story executive editor reports: “Whether it’s somebody like Charlie Sheen who can come out and say terrible things about his bosses on Twitter and lose his job, or someone like Ezra Klein, who is now back on MSNBC, but in 2007, he tweeted F*** Tim Russert with an acid spiny-tipped D***” and lost his contract with MSNBC over it.”
So while 140 characters does limit what you say, you should also take care in what you "tweet".
From personal experience, I have a lot of fun with Twitter. The PSOE political party has its local office close to where I live. Their leader decided recently to follow my tweets. If I send a tweet criticizing the ruling PP party, their leader will give me a big friendly grin in the street. However, if I choose to tweet something negative about the PSOE, the grin gets turned upside down into a huge frown.
So you see, you can use the service to some good effect.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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