30 December 2009

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2009 Was The Twitter's Year (Not in France Though)

A pie chart created in Excel 2007 showing the ...
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According to Guerric Poncet, in his article"2009, l'année de Twitter" published in Le Point, while 2008 may have been Facebook's year, 2009 has been the year of Twitter...
At the beginning of this year, Guerric Poncet writes, the site had only a few million users, but now, Twitter claims forty million accounts.

He also mentions that Facebook is not a "has been" yet, as the social site's membership has now reached 350 million. Probably thanks to smartphones, those little marvels that allow us to surf anywhere, any time, and to share... anything.

Guerric Poncet also writes about how influential Twitter has become. He says the site's influence was confirmed in June, 2009 when the US State Department asked it to delay some scheduled maintenance work so that the Iranian opposition's members could carry on using Twitter to exchange information and stay updated on what was happening with the elections in Iran.

Of course, Twitter willingly accepted the request... That was the best publicity a social site could get after all.


Reading the article, and the first three comments posted there, I can't help but wonder if Twitter and its usefulness has properly been understood in France...

Only 9% of  French surfers are actually using it?! I could pretend that it's probably because we French do like to go on and on when we talk and write and the 140 characters limit can be a bit restrictive, but somehow I have a feeling that this is not the only reason.

Still, at least, 60% of the French surfers had heard of it in November 2009 compared to the tiny 4% of the previous year... It's a start, I suppose.


On this side of the English Channel, Twitter's influence is pretty big and widely acknowledged, in spite of outrage from  British users when some members of the American far-right dared to diss the UK's National Health Service . Then there were, the tweeted reactions to the European Elections' shameful results (two BNP members elected as MEPs, thanks to a very poor turn out on  election day) Election outrage tweets made the Top Twitter trends as did tweets about the BBC's Question Time's episode with the far right BNP leader, Nick Griffin,  as a guest...

(The fact that the BNP supporters still carry on spamming Twitter by tweeting ad nauseam their website's posts is, in a way, another proof that Twitter is seen as an influential social site... Even if, like in this case, it's by people who obviously haven't got a clue on how to behave on the Net in general, and Twitter in particular.)

Of course, Twitter is not just about voicing our views on political matters, TV Shows such as Torchwood and Doctor Who, X-Factor with Jedward, or movies like Star Trek and District 9. It is also, and probably mainly, about sharing.

What we choose to share with our fellow tweeps is up to us... if it's important to us, it's important enough to tweet about it. It might not always be deep or life changing stuff but, at the end of the day, so what? It's not like what the three commenters dissing Twitter's users said was that deep anyway.

Some of us have heard about important events on Twitter first (like I did with Michael Jackson' death), and, sometimes, we also hear about important events on Twitter before they even make the news! Obviously, something that  commenters on the article's page are not aware of... perhaps they should use the site before going all negative about it.


I could understand reservations about the length of the tweets, especially when it comes to reading tweets with news and links... but, even that has been sorted. TweetMixx, for example, automatically unpacks all those shortened URLs into headlines and descriptions, effectively turning Twitter into a content recommendation site.

I do realise that I'm probably preaching to the converted here regarding Twitter, so I'm not going to go on and on, but, instead, I'm going to ask you guys to share with us (and, hopefully, the English speaking French surfers who might stumble upon this post) some of your tweeting experiences. It can be about what you regularly tweet about, events/news you've heard first on Twitter, apps you use or, well... anything Twitter related, really.

Maybe, just maybe, together we might be able to help my fellow French surfers make proper use of that fantastic democratic and informative tool called Twitter.

Thanks in advance...






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