Don’t judge Twitter by a few rotten tweets

Teens waste thousands of hours on meaningless phone conversations of gossip and superficial chatter. Adults fritter away entire nights watching trashy “reality” shows and formulaic sitcoms.

Does anyone think this means the telephone and the television are stupid, pointless devices?

Of course not, yet we push this impossible standard onto Twitter. The entire concept is derided and denigrated just because it’s used by some for dumb purposes like tweeting about their lunch plans or their mundane routines.

No one wants to read dull posts likes that. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great uses for Twitter that more than justify its ubiquity. New developments in the platform are making this more abundantly clear.

Consider location-based tweeting, something being rolled out in the near future by developers. Tweets would be accompanied by the latitude and longitude of their source, so you can search for those in your immediate vicinity. Imagine the usefulness (and entertainment value) of being at a concert, sporting event or festival and having the option of seeing what all your fellow attendees are thinking.

This feature would also have great practical purposes for newsgathering. If there’s a major event taking place in a specific area, Tweets from that source would  provide a tremendous depth of perspective from those at eye level.

Sounds good for big, crowded events. But what about everyday individual lives, you say? How can people use Twitter on the days when they mostly keep to themselves?

One option is to donate your Twitter feed. Many charitable organizations are asking supporters to retweet their key messages. Water.org has a great feature where the non-profit will automatically post its most important messages onto your feed for whatever time period you agree to donate. These groups recognize that your Twitter voice carries a unique credibility to friends and family following your feed. If you feel passionate enough about a cause, you can use the platform to instantly convey that feeling to those who trust your perspective.

Will these uses stop celebrities and narcissists from providing too much mundane information about their lives? Certainly not. But maybe they’ll broaden society’s outlook on Twitter’s considerable potential and value as an integral part of the media landscape.

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