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4 Ways Twitter Has Changed How We Communicate

Graphic of the Twitter Logo

Twitter has had almost everyone talking in the last few months since its takeover by Elon Musk. Whether or not the social media giant will survive its current phase is up for debate, with most people taking sides based on their political inclinations. 

But what is not in dispute is how powerful the social media giant is and its role in changing the world since its 2006 entry into the social media scene. Saying that Twitter has changed how the world communicates cannot be an overstatement. 

This guide highlights several ways the social media giant has changed how we communicate in the 15 years of its existence. 

1. It Made the Flow of Information Much Faster

Before the internet, information could only reach the population through traditional communication mediums like the radio, TV, and newspaper, which were pretty slow and inconvenient. The internet changed this by making the flow of information much faster and accessible at any place on time as long as there was an internet connection. 

With Twitter coming into the scene, the speed of the spread of information can only be explained as fast on steroids. All it takes is a few users with a large following sharing something and their followers sharing with them in a click, and a wildfire is set ablaze. 

The source of information doesn’t need to come from a renowned organization or individuals. For example, Twitter was instrumental in triggering the Arab Spring uprising of 2010 to 2012, where ordinary citizens took to the social media giants to mobilize and motivate protesters. 

Unfortunately, the speed of sharing information on Twitter can sometimes be used to spread misinformation, which can be destructive.

  1. It Demystified the Celebrity Status

For the longest time, celebrities have been looked at as role models. As a result, their publicists have always worked over the clock to ensure that they do not do or say something that can make them lose their credibility and role model status. 

Twitter has, over the years, ended that however not completely. Unlike in the past, when celebrities could only speak on TV, radio, in newspapers, and in magazines from well-rehearsed scripts, today, most celebrities have Twitter pages they manage themselves. 

Besides the scandalous missteps some celebrities make, their followers get a close-up insight into the lives of high-profile people, including presidents and world leaders. The close-up insight makes fans and followers realize that most celebrities are no different from any other person, thus demystifying celebrity status. 

However, the audience needs to understand that some of the insight can be scripted, so it’s best to take it with some caution. 

2. Oversimplified Conversation and Its Effect on Grammar

Twitter originally set the limit for tweets at 140 characters when it launched in 2006 to match the limit on SMS, which was the preferred mode of communication back then. The 140-character limit became a defining feature of Twitter, helping it stand out from other social media platforms. 

As a result, it became important for users to adapt to a style of communication that was more straight to the point and simple. This change was so ingrained in the users’ mind such that even the doubling of the character count in 2017 did not see much change in how users posted content on the platform. 

Before Twitter, grammar has always been a part of written communication. But there are only so many words users can write in 140 characters. As a result, users had to devise ways of using fewer words and contractions to make do with the limited characters.

This adaptation can, over time, affect a person’s written communication skills which are critical on a professional level. The good news is that anyone who feels that their overuse of Twitter has impacted how they write can turn to a free grammar checker to improve their grammar and, ultimately, increase their chances of getting a dream job or closing a great business deal. 

  1. It Changed Where and How the World Accesses Information

The world runs on information, and almost every person is looking for the most relevant information based on their circumstances. Traditionally, news channels control what type of information to share and when based on their perception of their audience’s preferences. 

The result was whole groups of people not having access to the information they love. But Twitter changed all this by allowing hundreds of content creators to be on a platform where they can share their knowledge and reach audiences that were traditionally left out. 

While traditional news outlets dominate the top 100 most popular accounts on Twitter alongside celebrities, there are hundreds of bloggers, online journalists, and podcasters not as far down the list that have managed to fill in the gap left by mainstream media outlets and have managed to build a huge following they would otherwise not have had without the platform.

Final Words

There is no denying that Twitter has significantly impacted how the world communicates. It has allowed for instant communication and access to a wide range of information, as well as changed the way people consume news. 

However, it has a bad side to it, such as a negative impact on grammar and contributing to the spread of misinformation and the amplification of harmful speech.

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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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