Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

What do Pope Francis and President Donald Trump have in common? They both have a social media presence. Specifically, they both use Twitter to reach out to their followers. However, the similarity ends there. You could not have two more divergent tweeting styles than these two individuals.

I’m not talking about specific content. We all know that the Pope would not tweet about the Russian investigation, and Trump would not tweet about matters of scripture. What is so diverse is the style, the approach, and the reasons each has for using this specific social media platform.

President Trump loves to get up in the middle of the night and dash off a tweet. In fact “dashing off” a tweet is his signature style regardless of whether it enhances or debases the message he’s planning to send. The Pontiff, on the other hand, has a staff who culls tweet worthy messages for him to use. However, they do not send it for him until he has reviewed it. Nonetheless, you would never find him sitting at his desk after dinner and spontaneously sending a tweet!

“Some people can be good on Twitter, and other people can realize that Twitter brings out the worse in them,” he [Bishop Paul Tighe] said. Quoted in American Magazine, January 8, 2018 – Following Francis: The Pope’s Social Media Ministry Takes Off

Wouldn’t it be nice if President Trump took this quote to heart. We’d have a lot less controversy running through the White House these days.

Although the Pope doesn’t tweet about politics specifically, he does comment on topics that impact humanity across the globe: a 2017 tweet dealt with “welcome migrants and foreigners”, and one in 2015 was about the earth looking like “an immense pile of filth.”

According to the social media analytics group, Twiplomacy, from 2013-2015 the Pope was the most influential global leader on Twitter. In 2016 he became number four, knocked out by, you guessed it, candidate Trump! The Pope and the President continue to battle it out for the title of most followed global leader on Twitter, though Trump has consistently taken the lead since last summer. Both men have over 40 million followers but they both still have a long way to go to catch up with pop stars Katy Perry’s 108 million followers and Justin Bieber’s 104 million followers!

 

“Too much has been said about the way technology allows us to experience the illusion of connection and retreat further into hermetic patterns, but it bears repeating that texts, emails, Facebook pokes, and Twitter faves do not a social life make. People are, it would seem, lonelier than ever and also less used to being alone.” – Lena Dunham, Vogue June 2018, p34

What does the “i” stand for in iPod, iPhone, iPad? Does anyone know? We’ve become the “i” generation, plugged in 24/7. Go to a museum and you see people walking through the galleries checking their iPhones instead of looking at the exhibits. Go into a Barns & Noble and watch the people who, while selecting CDs in the music section, are plugged into their iPods. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost run over a pedestrian who is staring at some tiny screen instead of being conscious of the traffic around him. Don’t even ask me about my opinion of the jerks who have to use these devises while driving. And it’s not just the “kids” who are immersed (here is another “i” word) in that other universe, it’s every generation! I recently took classes at college and, to my chagrin, had to deal with an 80 minute lecture that was broken up repeatedly by the professor checking her iPhone. For what reason? To get the latest score on her hockey playing son! In another class, there were numerous students who had their phones on silent mode but would then get up and leave the class to take the call. This other professor did not discourage their behavior feeling that they had family matters to check on. However, these people walking back and forth in front of me while he was giving his lecture made me want to scream.

Insensitive, isolationist, inconsiderate, interactive but in an alternate universe, does anyone ever connect with the real world anymore. Most people are more concerned with their “likes” on Facebook, the number of people viewing their Instagram pics, and responding in delayed time to Twitter words. It’s been proven that one can have relationships with humans where the only connection is in cyberspace but has anyone ever received a feel good emotion from hugging their iPad?

So why this rant today? I am trying to work through a very tough question in my life due to the deaths, last week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain: Why do people contemplate and become suicidal? I have a very good friend, who when she gets winter SAD, cuts herself off from all human contact and thinks about doing it. OK, this has nothing to do with iPhones but like I wrote a few sentences ago, it’s isolationist. We human beings are meant to connect flesh on flesh, voice to ear, touch to touch, and see each other in real time. As humans, we are genetically programmed to react to our environment, either in fear or in delight. (And studies have shown that babies who do not experience human touch don’t thrive.) Electronic devices (even the smartphone’s latest attempt at virtual reality) can’t replicate that, they put up a wall between us.

Yes, I know that people commit suicide for many different reasons but I just can’t help wondering how much all of our “i” devices are contributing to the uptick in such deaths. When social media debuted no one would have thought that it could be the reason people would commit suicide. Today we know differently.

We’ll probably never know why Spade and Bourdain took their lives. They definitely were not isolated individuals. They both had family, friends and a support system. But what about the thousands who are just like everyone else in the plugged in generations who one day discover that the world of pixels is not enough. That the light on the screen can’t show them the way out of THEIR darkness and thus they decide that the only answer is to hit the off button on their life.

(if you think someone you know is going this route don’t stay silent. Talk to them, ask them if they are contemplating suicide. And give them this number: National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255, where they can talk to people who are trained to help)

 

 

It’s been all over the media, the story of the woman who egged her “friend” on to commit suicide. Through the use of social media she managed to convince him that that was the best option he had. And then there was the smart, pretty 12 year old girl who committed suicide due to all the bullying she received via social media.

I wonder, if Jesus Christ were to be crucified today, how many people would pull out their iPhones and snap a picture of his agony to post on Facebook. And yet that is what we do each time we post something negative about a friend, something private about a neighbor, tear down a politician, or post a photograph which never was meant to be shared with the world. These actions crucify and create agony in the target person’s life.

You don’t have to be a bully or psychologically impaired to have your e-mails or tweets wreck havoc on someone. Just look at how our President, yes the president of the United states, has negatively impacted not only the objects of his tweets but his own presidential image. Sometimes it’s not so much the content of a social media post that is the problem but the choice of words used to express an opinion.

For good or bad, social media in all its forms is here to stay. Maybe it’s time to stop and take a look at how our social media words and pictures pollute and demean our existence and hurt the ones to whom we send it. We have the choice to spread messages of hope and beauty rather than despair and ugliness. Let’s make life better by choosing to use it for good

Until the advent of the telephone, communication was face-to-face (yes, there were letters, telegraph, smoke signals, drums, but here we are covering daily communications between regular people). It was one human being using spoken words to be received by another human’s ears. The important matters of businesses, town councils, and governments took place in meetings, where one not only received information but could also see the emotional state of the person speaking. The telephone changed that somewhat especially when the speakerphone (and later the video camera) was invented. However, people still gathered together in real time and space to discuss matters of importance. Then came text messaging and the internet.

Yes, live meetings became the bane of existence for business people. These meetings got the reputation of time wasters, where you were trapped in a room accomplishing little after spending a good chunk of time getting there. So with the creation of electronic devices accessed through high-speed connections, one can be anywhere on the planet and still participate. Cool, right? That’s if there is a video feed to the equation. Most of the time, people just “text” or “post”. So what you get, in essence, is an electronic letter to read which can be misinterpreted in its meaning. Sorry, but “e-moticons” do not count. As humans we need face-to-face communication not only to discern the speaker’s emotional state but also to be able to immediately ask a question to clarify something confusing.

A prime example of how this faceless communication not occurring in real time can go wrong, was recently when President-elect Trump sent his infamous tweet with the word “Nazi” in it. He knew why he was using that to backup a point of his but did anyone other than historians and Baby Boomers get what he was referring to? No. And since tweeting isn’t “real time” even if someone responded to his tweet asking for clarification, he didn’t have the time to send out another tweet to do so. That hardly happens in real time meetings and we saw this during the press conference when a reporter brought it up and Trump went on to explain himself. Bingo, the entire watching universe understood.

I’m not saying that tweeting or texting should be avoided. We can’t go back to the days before these devices and programs were available. However, like we all learned with the e-mail universe, once you hit the send button it’s out there for better or worse. With faceless communications, we all need to try very hard not to say things in a confusing manner or make references that only a certain portion of the population gets (hmm, like telling an in joke that can backfire on you when most of the listeners don’t get it!) It’s also great that now our chief executive can communicate instantly with the masses. Very few previous Presidents had either the technology or the skill to use it as he does.

Meetings have become the dinosaur of the 21st century and Twitter and Facebook have taken its place. It doesn’t matter if you are the President of the United States, or a 12 year old communicating with her best friend, what you say can become a disastrous opportunity to be misunderstood. Keep the message simple, avoid jargon or historical/political references, and you should be on safer ground as a 21st century communicator.

Word transformations:

“[in 2004] Twitter was a sound, the cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking space, Linkedin was a prison, appkications were what you sent to college, and for most people Skype was a typo.” – Thomas Friedman on Meet the Press

So what common words will have uncommon meanings 10 years from now? Think about that…

“Shorthand” the writing of common English words eliminating letters has been around for decades. So has jargon and slang that use words specific to an industry or social group. But with the advent of texting, and Twitter, you could say new modern “languages” have been born.

Twitter is really more like a word game. It challenges you to communicate within the confines of its 140 character limitation. Sort of like a journalist having to come up with a good short headline for a story. Only on Twitter you can contract words, leave out letters, or use words that are familiar with your readers but which other groups wouldn’t understand. (Read some of Lady Gaga’s Tweets and you’ll get the idea – who the heck are “little Monsters”???!)

Texting doesn’t put a limit on characters or the number of words but like old fashioned shorthand, it is easier to type a message using special words or leaving out letters. I believe this grew from the fact that your keyboard is so tiny, eliminating keystrokes makes typing the message easier. It took me forever to learn how to “thumb” a message (using my other fingers was a nightmare) and I still am amazed when I see a man with huge “paws” entering a message quickly on a tiny device!

 The result is that people have become so used to communicating in this “shorthand” language, that even at a full sized computer keyboard they don’t want to type out full words. Young people have an especially hard time switching from shorthand to normal English. This, of course, impedes communications such as work related correspondence or creating a job search cover letter that sounds professional.

It has also created what used to be called “slang”, words specific to a certain subculture, that are not in the dictionary. First is was using letters to describe things like the infamous LOL. Then it morphed into respelling words so they were shortened like substituting the numeral 4 instead of spelling “for”. Or getting real cre8tive just for the heck of it. Of course there are the totally new words like “hash tag” that in itself spawned “bashtagging” (bashing a company on Twitter using its own hash tag). Or giving a word another meaning for example a “Tweet” once meant only the sound a bird makes! Good or bad? Well, it’s always been said that language is a living thing and changes over time. We don’t speak the way they did in Shakespeare’s day, so why not #change?

Here are a few websites that will have you laughing, (or should I say twittering) or teach you a thing or two about these new “languages”:

Mashable’s Twitterspeak

A dictionary of Twitter words

For texting there are just too many good ones. So type “texting vocabulary” into your search engine of choice and have fun surfing the results!