The power of Twitter
Technology has changed much in society, it always has. Just think of the mastering of fire by mankind or in the Neolithic revolution the mastering of agriculture and the domestication of animals, followed by the use of metals, copper, bronze then iron which determined important changes in society. Other technological changes made the world smaller like navigation and the wheel and opened up distant regions to each other. The Industrial Revolution with the steam engine marked a profound change in our world as did the invention of the computer in our times, less and less people depended on agriculture for an income and urbanization took an enormous flight. The latest developments are definitely the social media, Facebook and Twitter foremost, providing platforms to connect people directly to each other using the internet and mobile phones.
At first Twitter seemed to me just a terrific noise of many crows croaking their personal messages without sense, but then I started to hear the song of different kinds of birds. Personal songs that are saying something sensible, tweets of blackbirds and songs of nightingales, even pure poetry, sympathy and empathy. You start seeing small windows opening to the world, sometimes even a door.
I stick to my passion for Sardinia and archaeology on the social media. Twitter provides a very rich resource of information on what is happening in these worlds, there is a continuous feed on the subjects by the many different actors that use Twitter to broadcast.
But the power of Twitter goes beyond that. At some point where you are following people and they follow back dialogues start and before you know it you have created more than a list of followers and much more than a list of people you follow, you start interacting with others, establishing relations with them. Before I knew it I was participating in the experiment of the Day of Archaeology organized by passionate archaeologists all around the world which lead to a website where over hundreds of articles were published on what archaeologists were doing that day.
Another result was the interaction with Sardinians around the world leading to the semi-serious use of a hashtag, #SardinianConnection, which in a few months started to grow out to a real circle of people on Twitter using the hashtag to express their adherence to this virtual social group. People are starting to meet each other outside Twitter in real life based on the common experience on the internet. Technology is bringing people all over the world together that otherwise might never have met. That is the real power of Twitter.