Entering the Twittersphere

One of the assignments for another module on the Technical Communication M.A. calls for us to create and maintain a Twitter account throughout the semester. I was resistant to this branch of social media for quite some time. I couldn’t quite get my head around it. The 140 character limit put me off it, to be honest. Slowly though I came round to its many benefits.

I really enjoy being able to chat to experts about various topics. It blows doors wide open for conversations while allowing people to get in touch with like minded individuals at the touch of a button. It has a tremendous power inherent within. One simply has to look at the success of the #hometovote campaign that the Yes side employed to gather Irish citizens home to vote in last year’s marriage referendum. On the other side, and in a similar vein to what I spoke about last week in terms of the fledgling realm of cyberethics, it also posses great potential for harm. People have been trolled and abused to such an extent that they have closed down their accounts. Twitter itself seems slow to face these issues head on, leaving many of its users vulnerable to online threats. They say their new measures have ‘tackled trolls’, yet many remain unconvinced.

Like it or loathe it, however, there’s no escaping the fact that it has now evolved to be a breaking news platform for stories and events around the world. Closer to home, we recently saw it as the platform chosen by the department of an Taoiseach to announce the date of the upcoming General Election. Like so many other human inventions and innovations, it holds tremendous power for both good and evil. it is clear to me that we need more regulation put in place to ensure the balance is tipped into good’s favour.

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