I joined Twitter in May 2017 in response to the continual degradation of Google+. Now about 18 months later, I've posted my 10,000th tweet. That works out to about 550+ tweets a month, or just under 20 tweets a day on average. That seems like a lot 🤣. This won't be a "review" of Twitter. That wouldn't make much sense considering how long Twitter has existed. Instead, this will just be me sharing the experience of my journey to 10,000 tweets.
Comparisons to Google+
As a heavy user of Google+ for several years, comparisons would undoubtedly be made between the two social networks. Right off the bat I knew that Twitter was a different experience compared to Google+, and the more I used it the more obvious those differences became. The way Google+ continued to deteriorate just made those differences even more obvious. Many of my friends from Google+ who gave Twitter a try expecting it to perfectly replace Google+ were undoubtedly disappointed. It worked perfectly for me because I knew Twitter isn't a Google+ replacement. I used it the way it was meant to be used and after 10,000 tweets, it's obvious that I've enjoyed it. It's not perfect (we still don't have a damn edit button), but it's possibly the most important social network on the web. More important than Google+ ever was anyway.
Everyone is on Twitter
The reason why I think it's that important is because practically everyone is on Twitter. Twitter isn't just a social network, it's like the world's online newspaper. I know Reddit claims to be "the front page of the internet", but I'd argue Twitter deserves that title more. Breaking news spreads fast on Twitter. A testament to how important the network is for information dissemination. Politicians and government agencies are on Twitter, so we can get first hand info directly from them rather than from a third-party news report. Sports clubs and athletes are on Twitter, as are movie studios, directors and actors, giving us our fill of entertainment content. Many commercial brands are on Twitter, using the power of social media to market their products. News portals are on Twitter so you can use the network as a sort of news feed. With so many prominent brands and people on Twitter, it gives regular users a platform to get their voices heard. This has always been a strength of Twitter, and it's one of the main reasons I decided to use the platform too.
The voice of the internet
I've often described Twitter as being the "voice" of the internet. This isn't some catchy marketing phrase I've heard, but something I've noticed even before I started using Twitter myself. When news portals or any online publication wants to include people's reactions in an article, they often look to Twitter. Malaysian news portals do this frequently, often times referring to online commentators as "netizens". I myself have had my tweets used on a number of occasions for various stories. My response to a "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" trailer was highlighted by Yahoo!, my reaction to a politician promising free plastic bags for shoppers in my state before the election got picked up by Asian Correspondent, and my tweet about the song "Despacito" being banned in Malaysia was featured by CNN. I don't see other social networks like Facebook or Instagram perused as often as Twitter in these situations, which is why I feel like Twitter is a great platform to get your voice heard.
Following live events
Following live events on Twitter is an interesting experience. In Malaysia, we recently had our historic 14th General Election and I stayed up I think until 3 a.m following the news on Twitter (while also watching the news on TV). Social media played a huge role leading up to the elections in Malaysia, and following all the election news on Twitter before, during, and after the election was a very fruitful experience. Other than politics, football matches are a weekly occurrence and following all the latest updates on Twitter is a decent alternative for when I'm not actually watching football. The #phonepocalypse was exciting as more than half a dozen phones were launched in October and following the launch events live on Twitter was something very enjoyable for me. On the other hand, not all live events are enjoyable. Sometimes, disaster strikes like the loss of the Lion Air flight in Indonesia. In these instances, Twitter becomes invaluable as live updates come pouring in as people await confirmation of what actually happened. There is of course the problem of unverified reports and downright fabrications, but if you can isolate the noise, Twitter is probably the best place for live updates.
Making Twitter better for longer posts
Two rather big changes took place in my short time on Twitter, both making it easier to post longer content on the network. In November 2017, Twitter doubled its character limit for tweets, and just a month later it introduced an easier way to thread your tweets. As someone who likes writing long-form content, I was rather pleased with the introduction of longer tweets, but many long-time users weren't. After a few months though, it was revealed that having more characters for tweets didn't necessarily mean that all tweets would be longer, which makes sense. Just because you can tweet longer, doesn't mean you need to. So this was a good change as those who needed more space for their tweets had the room to do so, and those who didn't could still keep their tweets short and sweet. Threading was always possible on Twitter, you just needed to post each tweet individually and add to the thread later. The new change made this process less cumbersome as you could compose all your tweets in a thread before posting, and post the entire thread in one click. I thread tweets a lot, both in one go but also over time. I ranted about my university about a month ago, so that was a thread that I composed in one sitting. As for threading tweets over time, my review of OnePlus' Bullets Wireless earphones took a week to complete, as I added tweets to my thread over time as I used the earphones more and more. It's not the same as writing a proper long-form post like you can here on Cake, but I do like the higher character limit and being able to thread tweets.
Twitter may not be everybody's cup of tea. It wasn't mine either back in the day, but that's ok. No social network is one size fits all. Having said that though, I find Twitter to be extremely useful for me, and fun to use as well. 10,000 tweets is only the beginning for me.