2009: Why Twitter Changed Our Lives

Since its creation in 2006 by Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained notability and popularity worldwide. Reflecting back on the past year, users and experts agree, it has significantly changed our lives. Hundreds of thousands of people jumped on the Twitter bandwagon in 2009 and if you have yet to do so, you might be missing out.

Twitter allows you to make new friends, network (very useful in PR), and get messages directly from celebrities, politicians and companies. In addition, it keeps us up to date about world events, and many times it can be the first source of breaking news. The 140-character limit on messages allows us a short glimpse into the lives of whoever we are following and is supposed to answer the question, “what’s happening?”

Here’s how this social media phenomenon changed our lives, one tweet at a time in 2009.

Finding and interacting with new people:

Twitter allows its users to interact with anyone they want, whether they know them personally or not. Users are free to meet new people and connect in a non-threatening way because less personal information and pictures are required in comparison to Facebook and Myspace. Twitter adds a second layer of discussion with its open conversation atmosphere that encourages participation from wider audiences into what would have been a private exchange.

Celebrities and politicians using Twitter:

Celebrities and politicians now use Twitter to reach out to their fans and constituents directly. They are often able to do this without traditional public relations and security barriers. It also helps celebrities and politicians seem more human to their followers, especially when they tweet about their daily lives.

Companies listen to our complaints:

2009 was the year that many companies joined Twitter to better suit and connect with their customers. It allows customers the opportunity to complain or ask questions, and many of these companies are seeing to it that designated employees are answering and engaging with customers.

How people get their news and gossip:

Twitter has changed the way people watch and read the news. Users rely on other users to screen through the most interesting news and recommend links for them, rather than going to the mainstream medias. There is often a huge outpouring on Twitter of events a good hour before it is reported on some other channels.

Be careful what you tweet!

Because what we Tweet is public record, people have quickly had to learn to be careful with what they say, and suffer the consequences. Screenwriter Roger Avary was re-sent to jail because of “security reasons” after he had posted a series of tweets about his jail experiences when he was at work on the outside. Connor Riley, who tweeted in March that she was unsure about taking a job at tech firm Cisco, and was weighing the “utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work,” had her job offer revoked after a Cisco employee read her tweet.

So while Twitter has managed to change some elements of our lives in 2009 by letting us reach out to more people and obtain information from a variety of sources we’ll just have to wait and see whether it is another passing fad or posses the necessary staying power.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Patricia Wyatt.

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