By Korath V Mathew
Had Malcolm Gladwell wrote Tipping point now, how would he have rated Twitter? A classic connector and communicator and Numero Uno in that. There is no better word to describe Twitter. Twitter is probably the best Notice Board or News Board you can have today.
For the broadcaster it is the fastest notice board to the world and to the receiver it is like multiple news board in one screen. It is akin to seeing multiple TVs at the same time and that too of your choice in order of their priority set by you. There is no force feed.
When you watch TV you are just viewing one notice board of which the content is decided by the Anchor. Not all is relevant to you; rather ten percent of it would interest you. But if you ask him to put out the few most important news items in brief, in just 140 letters, then you get his Tweets; uncluttered , brief and to the point; and it has to be good because the viewer has the choice to knock of his notice board from the monitor. Thus you can tune to tweets of fifty people in place of two or three in as much time.
Twitter is near real time. One doesn’t have to keep watching TV for the breaking news or wait for hours hoping for your choice news to surface in some channel. It just comes automatically on your mobile or computer screen and one can follow the hyper link to watch the video clip or read the detailed news. No time is wasted and the dissemination is though the fastest means possible. What more; no advertisement and no disturbance. You get to know everything that is important to you, through the fastest means possible, spending minimum time, by following the right guys.
Twitter has another great advantage besides all that has been described above. It many cases it gets rid of the messengers. The communication is one to one. If Barack Obama wants to broadcast and you want to hear him with out the TV Anchor butting in to give his comments or clipping it in parts, then Twitter is the right choice. Consequently, subjectivity is is greatly removed. You hear it straight from the horse’s mouth and there is no scope for anyone to twist it; thus empowering the news maker to directly influence the audience.
What about the quality of news? The other day Shashi Tharoor was listening to PM’s speech and he was Tweeting every ten minutes; very crisp and relevant points coming from an intellect who has deep understanding of the subject; certainly better than that of a news reader who has a general knowledge of the subject and routinely summarising after a delay of six hours. Twitter no doubt has changed the rules of the game; Quality news, direct and conveyed through the fastest means, most objectively. This paradigm shift has certainly posed an immense challenge to the media. They have to innovate and value add to make it worth while for the audience lest they will be out of business.
Can Twitter be a tool for the corporate? Yes, an ideal communication mechanism; the best notice board for the CEO. All he has to ensure is that his subordinates are his followers on Twitter and the message will be delivered at the speed of light. For confidentiality he can ensure that outsiders are not logged on to his official User Name. No email or mass SMS can match Twitter in communication. It is fast, reliable and beyond repudiation, executed with minimum hassle and in shortest time.
Is Twitter going to reach every one? What about the majority of the public who is not so tech savvy? The answer is simple; not everyone reads all the dailies and not every one watches all the TV channels either; but the news spreads through word of mouth. If there is one trend setter among hundred and as long as there is an authentic source to check back and verify, the information flow will take place unhindered. So Twitter is going to spread the news faster than any other means to majority of people; especially the news you need to know.
Is there a flip side to Twitter? Every technology has a flip side. Nuclear power which produces billions of units of electric energy could power an atom bomb that can wipe of countries. Similarly twitter in the hands of criminals can be potentially dangerous. It can be used as an effective communication tool without any trace. I would desist from explaining how and why, lest I become an aid. Twitter must be already having safe guards to counter such threats.
About the Author
Korath V Mathew is an ICT Specialist providing consulting services in IT projects especially in the field of e-Governance. He has worked on projects of ADB, DFID (UK) and World Bank, besides private firms. He has designed and program managed many renowned projects which include Cloud computing systems, Metro bus information systems, Broadband over electric power line along with Automatic Meter reading, GIS based Vehicle tracking and Management systems, Biometric Id system and Automated Building Plan approval system, to name a few. He is a passionate user of Ubuntu and supports FOSS community. He enjoys sports, has participated in National games and is always keen to promote sports. He runs and practices yoga regularly to keep fit. He can contacted on [email protected]