The Evolution and Digital Revolution of Twitter

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A general overview of how Twitter has evolved from 2006-2010 and become a source of news feeds and emergency management tool.

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The Evolution and Digital Revolution of Twitter

  1. 1. Chris Thompson Communication, Technologies and Change T2: Phil Cullen
  2. 2. What is Twitter?  Free online and mobile social networking service that enables linked micro-blogging  Users send SMS style messages known as ‘tweets’ to subject topics and people who sign up to your account  Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone in 2006 while working at Odeo Co in the USA The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  3. 3. How does Twitter work?  People post 140 character messages – ‘tweets’ – to their user profile page where they are read by ‘followers’  A follower is someone who subscribes to your account and receives your tweets The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  4. 4. Twitter users Currently 175 million users across the world The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  5. 5. Australian Twitter users  In Australia there are approximately 2.5 million Twitter users making up 2.39% of worldwide users  Over 50% of Australian’s will own a smartphone by the end of 2010  More than half of Australia’s Twitter users access their accounts every day using their smartphone The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  6. 6. Twitter evolving…  Users wanting to group subjects and to allow non-followers into the conversation created the use of hashtags  Hashtags allow users to contribute to and track topics by prefixing a word with a hash symbol #  Users also defined a way to reply directly to other users by placing the @ symbol before their account name The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  7. 7. Potential reach of Twitter  As of November 2010 the top ten accounts on Twitter all have over 4.5 million followers. The top four alone have over 25 million followers  The societal impact from these types of numbers can be affiliated with the influence these people can potentially exert in the same vein as media broadcasting organisations  Lady Gaga has an unfiltered, subscribed communication to an audience of over 7 million giving her, as an individual, double that of any news broadcaster or programming within Australia  The USA President used Twitter in his election campaign and has continued to use the service to reach his audience. Nearly 6 million people are following his tweets The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  8. 8. Mainstream media adoption  In 2007 mainstream media starts running ‘soft’ stories on the use of Twitter  In 2008 the use of Twitter through citizen journalism becomes more prevalent as news-leads due to real-time information sharing  In 2009 the world news networks use Twitter to report on the Iranian election protests  In 2010 all news networks in Australia have Twitter accounts and ask viewers to send news tips via the service  In 2010 news stories are about happenings on Twitter and regularly use posted tweets to add emphasis to stories The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  9. 9. The use of Twitter in disaster management  Public safety is at the foremost of national consciousness, both in the face of onset natural hazards and human intervention  Each year Governments spend enormous amounts of funding and resources trying to mitigate the impacts on public safety  Disaster management requires real-time communication to help save lives and infrastructure  As Twitter allows users to send and receive information with mobile devices to a wide audience in real time, it seems a readymade tool to assist disaster management The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  10. 10. The use of Twitter in disaster management Case Study 1: Victorian Bushfires, Australia - February 2009  The Country Fire Authority (CFA) used Twitter to send out regular alerts and updates on the status of the fires, danger areas, and locations of response centre’s and first aid assistance points  Information shared on Twitter helped to coordinate meeting points and redirect messages from authorities to those who were unable to get access to the message on other mediums The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  11. 11. The use of Twitter in disaster management Case Study 2: Red River Valley flood threat, USA - March 2009  The Red River between North Dakota and Minnesota were subject to flood alert between March and April 2009  Twitter was advertised and used as a constant way to update citizens of the likely flooded areas  Users were tweeting requests for assistance to safeguard their homes and were posting messages in real-time on the direction and height of the flood water The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  12. 12. The use of Twitter in disaster management Case Study 3: Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand September 2010  Tweets were posted during the actual earthquake  Citizens were using Twitter to inform their followers where they were and if they were safe  Authorities were able to instantly access and assess the extent of the damage as people posted damage reports and electricity outages across the city  The New Zealand geological organisation Geonet collected tweets from those who experienced the earthquake and used the location data in conjunction with seismological data to triangulate the extent of how widely the earthquake was felt The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter
  13. 13. References  Della Cava, M R (2010). Twitter power – Learning from ourselves in real time. USA Today: 25/5/2010  Johnson, S (2009). How Twitter will change the way we live. Time Magazine. Vol. 173, Issue 23, 15/6/2009, p32-37  Mazzarella, J (2009). Twitter for Public Safety & Emergency Management. Emergency Preparedness Today: 28/4/2009.  Palen, L; Starbird K; Vieweg, S; Hughes, A (2010). Twitter-based information distribution during the 2009 Red River Valley Flood Threat. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology: Vol. 36, Issue 5, June/July 2010, p13-17.  Sagolla, D (2009). How Twitter was born. Online Publishing: 30/1/2009.  Strickland, J (2008). How Twitter Works. www.howstuffworks.com (accessed 28/10/2010)  www.neilsenwire.com  www.Twitter.com  www.twitaholic.com The evolution and digital revolution of Twitter

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