Twitter: Beware the ego

In my estimation, the hottest social networking site today is Twitter. For many people, it has surpassed Facebook in popularity with its alluring immediacy, concision and simplicity as it extends networking to a broader scope of people and interests while maintaining exclusivity.

However, like any new idea, there are those neo-luddites who are opposed to Twitter and eager to scrutinize and reject it. But to criticize the technology itself is to miss the point; instead, it is more appropriate to criticize the use, misuse or overuse of a technology.

The main issues that skeptics have concerning the potential hazards of Twitter lie within its addictive qualities. Critics believe that Twitter can have the effect of making one feel like a bona fide celebrity by appealing to the ego.

Thus, it is capable of providing users with a false sense of reality by diminishing it and potentially damaging genuine interpersonal relationships or social skills.

I am in agreement, to a certain degree; Twitter can be harmful, but this is not because there is necessarily anything wrong with the site itself. Rather, it is the actions of individual users that  lead to adverse effects.

For instance, there seem to be a number of people on Twitter who are searching for validation, which the site gives. Features like “favorites” and “retweets” and the amount of followers one has actually attach a numerical value to the inflation of an ego.

Of course, relying on a website for reassurance is not the behavior of a confident, secure person, but a service Twitter provides almost instantaneously.

Furthermore, another unfortunate misuse of Twitter is that, for some, it has become a public archive for users’ complaints. This is perhaps the most common use of the site and these complaints are generally not indignant calls for change. No, instead they are insignificant banalities directed at the weather or schoolwork or even the school that one attends. There seems to be little thought given to what constitutes a remark worth making and no way to sift through all the drivel.

These are just a few of the ways in which the site is abused and has deviated from the original intention of the creators. I must admit that I, too, am guilty of occasionally fishing for favorites and tweeting trivialities. What can I say? Sometimes you just need a little confirmation. Right? Tell me I’m right!

Anyway, it is easy to understand where critics of Twitter are coming from, for the site has certainly had a negative impact on many users.

However, I personally don’t take issue with the site itself; I do take issue with what some people choose to make it into, but that is their prerogative. I suppose that is the purpose of the “unfollow” option. Oh, and that freedom of speech thing or whatever.

Despite my annoyance with some of the users on Twitter—and yes, I recognize the irony that I was just complaining about people who complain too frequently—I still think it is a great tool.

It allows for an extensive connectivity between friends, fans and the people they admire across the globe, and really anybody or any type of account that one may find interesting. It is also beneficial for businesses and entrepreneurs for marketing purposes.

Additionally, I like that it necessitates brevity. In order to be profound or witty or inspirational on Twitter, you also need to be concise. Just think: if this article were a tweet, you would have only had to read 140 characters of this opinion.