Influential or Intrusive- Is Twitter changing more than just social media?

By Caroline Tylawsky  

Last night I was casually checking out my Twitter feed when I noticed that a co-worker of mine was tweeting about how the Dallas Mavericks played were going to be a deciding factor in her mood for the rest of the night. All of sudden I was Googling the score and checking out how far along the game was. Then I was simultaneously searching hashtags with #mavs and #heat in them to see what other people were saying about the big game on Twitter. I went from not caring about basketball ever in my life to having five different tabs open to follow up on the game. It was then that it hit me- is Twitter so influential in my life that it’s actually changing what I’m interested in?

The answer is, of course! That got me thinking. What else am I letting Twitter choose for me? And do I like the changes? I decided that I’m happy to experience new ideas, but to keep in mind that Twitter is only a source, not a finalizing stamp of approval. I decided, the next time I’m tweeting and something catches my eye, I will follow these steps:

Be open minded. All too often we get stuck in a corner of something we’re a “fan of” because that’s what our friends, family, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. loves and we just go along with it. Today, with so much information being exchanged online and people sharing their ideas every second, we are able to see a lot more of what’s out there. For example- I have always thought that action hero movies are not for me- too violent, too macho, and I get lost along the way. Now, thanks to everyone talking about X Men: First Class and giving it such rave reviews, it’s next on my list of must-see movies.

 

Ask questions. Twitter isn’t a stiff forum where questions are embarrassing and awkward. People go on Twitter to talk- and they’re more than happy to answer your queries. Rather than get frustrated because you don’t quite understand the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers, just tweet about it- you are sure to be inundated with replies and get into the game.

 

Follow interesting tweeters. This is the absolute easiest way to get involved with something new. If you’re trying to keep up with baseball this summer, don’t just rely on the news- actually go on Twitter and see what team members have handles, follow @MLB, and engage with other baseball fanatics. Not only will you learn a lot, but you will feel like you are in the baseball community.

 

If it’s not for you after all, forget about it! There are always a million conversations on Twitter, so if it turns out that you’re not so interested in that new topic, carry on to the next thing! Instead of baseball, check out yoga or follow Barnes and Noble for cool summer reads. The point of Twitter is to exchange information and expand your world, so have fun with it!

 

Have you ever become interested in something simply because your friends were tweeting about it? Share with a comment below!