All that Twitters is not Gold
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Remember when you were young and your mother would tell you to switch off the television, even if your favorite channel was the news channel, because “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”? Well, mothers are a wise lot because the same thing can be said of the micro-blogging website, Twitter. While Twitter has taken the reins of the whole world, even the world’s most powerful man, America’s president Barack Obama has an active account; many have voiced concerns over the social networking website. From the minor complaints and qualms about Twitter to the more pressing life-and-death issues, I am trying to address the negative aspects of Twitter (and I promise to cover more characters than a tweet).
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Small groups of parents have gone up in arms over Twitter, some even resorting to using different software to block their children from accessing the website from home. Unlike conventional blogging where users are allowed to pour their heart and soul into a single entry that could comprise from a hundred to over a thousand words, Twitter users who send messages onto the website (known as tweets) are limited to a mere 140 characters per tweet. This means users often resort to shortening their tweets and using text language. Parents feel excessive use of Twitter by a young child would hinder and affect the child’s grasp of written language and have demanded an increase in the number of characters allowed in a tweet or disallow use of text language.
While some parents are angry with the micro-blogging phenomenon, parents of a young Romanian girl, Flavia Maria Boricea, has been left torn and heartbroken due to a death by Twitter. When Maria’s parents got her a new laptop, she got so excited with her new piece of hardware; she started a barrage of tweets and brought the laptop into the bathtub while she was taking a bath. The girl was electrocuted to death. Her last tweet on her Twitter page read: “Battery is running low, brb ”. The obsession with people on tweeting their every move has led to a complete compromise of safety and precaution. With Twitter now being easily accessible on a mobile phone, users have to be careful and not tweet while they are driving or doing something that is potentially life threatening.
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Even though Twitter has acquired a large horde of fans for its website and micro-blogging in general, some are criticizing the website for having too much connectivity. The huge rush and influx of new Twitter accounts lead to people accessing their page at wee hours of the morning to check updates of their favorite celebrities, friends and family. With over 40% of all tweets consisting of pointless babble, users end up wasting precious minutes of the night or day receiving updates that are not useful in any way. Users who access Twitter using their mobile phones also end up with higher phone bills since they keep accessing pages of others and updating their own page.
While some find Twitter as a mere nuisance and a fad that would die off once the next big thing arrives in the World Wide Web, the United States Army Intelligence, in October 2008, believed that Twitter was a form of a terrorist tool and used to post terrorism ideologies and fundamentals to update fellow extremists on the networking site. While the Army Intelligence news was widely disregarded, since Twitter relies on real time minute-by-minute update, it showed the possibility of a terrorist cell or an extremist group to spread its word or plan the next terrorist attack, in code, through the micro-blogging site.
Twitter may be the most popular social networking tool right this very moment and its idea of quick updates through SMS and the internet makes it easy for anyone to update their lives and inform the world through the micro-blogging phenomenon. Remember though, too much of a good thing is a bad thing and Twitter does have a lot of negative side effects!