So you think Twitter is just for fun?

Think again! Try to use some desk research. It’s not hard to find the amazing facts about Twitter.

100 most popular Twitters
100 most popular Twitters

Let’s have a look at http://twittercounter.com/pages/100

Lady Gaga was the most followed on Twitter. At the moment it’s Justin Bieber.

Who – Justin Bieber
Right now Justin Bieber is the most popular guy on Twitter. But – is it really Justin’s just tweeping his days away. His fingers must glow like red hot iron on the phone. Allegedly he’s the author of not less than some 20.000+ tweeps.

That’s an amazing number of tweeps – especially if you compare to the tweeps of Lady Gaga. She tweeped around 2500 times or so.

Kipling’s “six honest serving men”
From the poem “Six Honest Serving Men” from “The Elephant’s Child” you can learn how to analyze communication:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,

I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;

I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

 

What – Twitter

So where are we? Twitter is a micro blog. You can post max 140 characters. That’s it. You can also post images, video or sound. Twitter is for short statements. It sounds boring. But professional authors and artists can reach out to a big audience.

When – anytime
Justin can tweep anytime – at least if he’s in reach of the internet somehow. He might use a browser – or his smartphone. Whatever device he prefers there might be some app where he can write his updates.

An so he did. 20.000+ times. That’s a lot of micro blogging.

Why – the most important question!
The most important question is: “Why?”. Do you really think that this is just Mr. Bieber having fun? When I click send around 60 persons will receive my tweep. When Justin does the same thing

33.728.223 

can read his tweeps. That’s a lot of readers.

To me Twitter may be a kind of social media. But when you reach out to millions of readers it’s not a passtime any more. It’s hardly a hobby. So for people like Justin Bieber Twitter is a mass media channel.

In comes Laswell’s classic communication model:

 Who is the author?
It could be Justin. At least some of the time. But the page looks strangely welldesigned. It’s nice in an almost boring way. Here it is relevant to ask yourself – is the page really made by Justin – or do you think that a ghostwriter is afoot? Are the pictures really made by Justin?

  • Did Justin write all of the text, some of it or nothing whatsoever? 
  • Can Justin really read the tweeps from the 123.772 persons he follows?
  • Will this page even pass a Turing test? (Could we suspect robotic activities here?)

Perhaps part of the site is made by professionals. Perhaps all of it. If somebody was payed to help Justin they did a good job if you can take the number of followers as a sign of such a thing.  Have a good look at the site.

Justin Bieber on Twitter
Justin Bieber on Twitter – so nice, sooo boring.

Have a good look at this – and the other 100 most poplar Twitter sites. Asking yourself who the sender really is might light a candle. So from the point of view of the multimedia programme you can say, that:

  • Twitter is business
  • Twitter is communication
  • Twitter is webdesign
  • Twitter is interaction

Bakhtin, Baym og Banks

Baym

Baym opererer med 7 nøglebegreber i “Personal Connections in the Digital Age” (2011):

1) interaktivitet
2) temporær struktur – synkron eller asynkron
3) sociale markører
4) lagring
5) reproduktivitet (måske er kopierbarhed bedre?)
6) størrelsen på muligt publikum, der kan understøttes
7) mobilitet – om man kan tage mediet med sig (brugssituationen)

Bakhtin

Bakhtin mener i “The Problem of Speech Genres”, at udsagn siger noget om den som taler. Talehandlingen skaber forbindelse til:

  • en temaenhed
  • en komposition
  • relationer mellem taler og tilhører

Men Bakhtin mener ikke, at der findes en generelt accepteret klassifikation af sprogstilarten. Faktisk mener han at klassifikationer fra retorik mv. er mere eller mindre arbitrære:

(Bakhtin op.cit. citat p. 64-65)

“In each epoch certain speech genres set the tone for the development of litterary language” (p. 65).

Bakhtin henviser til von Humboldts tese om at tale er en nødvendig betingelse for refleksion, selv når man er alene. Når man taler er det ofte sådan, at taleren selv er respondent. Taleren er med andre ord sin egen lytter.

Banks

Er det det, der sker, når Banks twitter på Twitter.com? Hendes sproghandling er dybt indforstået. Twitter er mikroblogging. Teknikken sætter en grænse for, hvad der kan siges. Forkortelser og hashtags bliver til vigtige stilmarkører. Relationen mellem taler og tilhører opstår i den koncentrerede sproghandling.

Tyra Banks på Twitter
Tyra Banks på Twitter (6.3. 2012)

Banks telegrammatiske udsagn: “WOW! #ANTM ’round the world! RT @espietrazo@tyrabanks just watched 1st ep of #ANTM brit invasion here in philippines.cant wait 4 d nxt ep” er et af mange eksempler på stilen. Hvem taler Banks til? De 5.777.506 som følger hende – eller er hun sin egen tilhører? Med Bakhtin kunne man hævde det sidste.

Et twit fra Tyra
Tyra twitter telegrammatisk (citat: 6.3. 2012)

 

Analyse

Med udgangspunkt i Baym og Bakhtin kunne man analysere Banks sådan:

  1. Twitter er et interaktivt mikroblogging-site. Rollerne er “twitter” (taler) og “followers” (lyttere). Interaktionen sker når lytterne svarer taleren. Så opstår dialog.
  2. Twitter kan både være synkront og asynkront. Tyra skriver i et nu, og få sekunder senere kan hendes 5.777.506 lyttere læse beskedden og reagere på den. Men beskedden bliver gemt, og kan læses længe efter det nu, hvor Tyra sendte beskedden ud i mediet.
  3. Der er mange sociale markører i det indforståede telegramsprog. “wait 4 d nxt ep” kan oversættes til “wait for the next episone. Tyra vil nok have os til at se et eller andet program i TV. Hun henviser fra et medie (web 2.0) til et andet medie (TV). Hashtaggen #ANTM betyder nok “Americas Next Top Model”. Det er et såkaldt “reality show”, som Tyra Banks har lanceret i USA – og som i 19 sæsonner har været sendt på en række internationale TV-stationer.
  4. Lagring – Tyras twits bliver lagret.
  5. Reproduktiviteten er høj. Tyras twits kan hentes frem fra lagermediet og genopleves.
  6. Taleren kan nå ud til et endog meget stort publikum. Tyras twits når  nu ud til over 5 millioner brugere. At føre en personlig dialog med så mange mennesker må antages at være umulig. Med Bakhtin kunne vi hævde, at Tyra er sin egen tilhører. Kan man sige, at Twitter er en indre dialog?
  7. Mobiliteten på Twitter er relativt høj – man kan twitte fra en mobiltelefon. Så længe der er mobildækning er det muligt at bruge dette massemedie.

Baym og Bakhtin kan bruges som model til tolkning af sociale medier. Der er relativt få begreber; men analysen af Banks viser, at de kan bruges til noget.

Kritik af denne værktøjskasse

Ovenstående er et led i opgaven med at “udvikle en værktøjskasse eller et begrebsapparat”. Med Bayn og Bakhtin får man nok en fornemmelse af, hvad der sker i talehandlingen på Twitter; men begreberne åbner ikke for en kritisk tilgang til den analyserede tekst.