In a New York Times Magazine article (http://goo.gl/tEHfw), Bill Keller claims that there is “something illusory about the connectedness of Twitter”. However, in many online communities, such as the MBTI community, this connection is not illusory. Twitter is the connection that the communities are based upon. While Twitter serves many purposes, within the MBTI it primarily functions as a connector.
(Follow this link for another response to Bill Keller’s “The Twitter Trap” http://goo.gl/D3lVf)
Twitter is a flexible tool that can be used for multiple purposes within virtual communities; Keller concedes that it is “a megaphone for promotion, a seine for information, a helpful organizing tool for everything from dog-lover meet-ups to revolutions”. Salon Tech Tips (http://goo.gl/XvX2D) explains that Twitter’s purposes include networking, building traffic, business promotion, and social communication.
Twitter functions to fulfill these diverse purposes within the MBTI community. CPP, Inc. uses their Twitter accounts as a way to promote products, recruit practitioners, and share information about upcoming seminars and training sessions. Members of the MBTI community often use Twitter to share links to related blog posts and news articles.
While the MBTI community does take advantage of Twitter’s promotional and information sharing value, Twitter is most heavily relied upon as a connector. According to danah boyd (http://www.danah.org/), “Twitter – like many emergent genres of social media – is structured around networks of people interacting with people they know or find interesting” (http://goo.gl/hqb7g). It is a community link that allows users to follow other users with similar interests in order to form communities. Twitter also functions as a connector between the community members and the information they share. Pictures and links are easily embedded into tweets; they provide an easy connection between Twitter users and shared information.
Twitter strengthens the MBTI community by connecting members with each other. An obvious example of this is the way that it enables community members to follow the Twitter feeds of other members. Twitter also allows community members to easily interact and converse with the use of symbols like @ and RT. An example of this can be seen in the picture below.
The tweet above demonstrates communication between @thembti, @typetrainer, and @donnadunning through use of @ and RT.
Twitter also connects MBTI community members to outside information. By embedding links, as demonstrated in the tweet above, members of the MBTI community are able to easily connect fellow members with relevant outside information. Users can also connect to information through hashtags (#). The original tweet above, written by @thembti, includes multiple hashtags: #ENFJs, #results, #talents, #MBTI, and #develop. Popular hashtags within the MBTI community include #mbti and #myersbriggs. These hashtags allow community members to easily find tweets within the community and make it easy for other interested Twitter users to become involved in their conversations.
The connectedness of Twitter is no illusion. In the MBTI community, Twitter’s key role is to link the members to each other and to outside information. Twitter allows companies like CAPT and CPP to communicate and share ideas with psychologists, educators, and other interested community members.
What examples have you found of Twitter’s connectedness? What other purposes of Twitter have you seen within the the MBTI community? What purposes do YOU fulfill on Twitter? Responses can be tweeted to @briannefyw111
What examples have you found of Twitter’s connectedness?
What other purposes of Twitter have you seen within the the MBTI community?
What purposes do YOU fulfill on Twitter?
Responses can be tweeted to @briannefyw111