Twitter: What Are You Doing?
With former US Congressman Anthony Weiner resigning last Thursday after a backlash that started from a simple 140-character tweet, it leaves us wondering… How powerful is Twitter? Facebook is still considered the largest social media giant on the Internet, amassing nearly 25 percent of all US page views, according to a study released by Experian Hitwise last year; but Twitter is experiencing a major growth spurt this year, and its users are both mobile and diverse.
Let’s look at some of the numbers, taken from “The Twitter Update,” conducted in May 2011 by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project:
- 13 percent of online adults use Twitter (up from 8 percent in November 2010)
- 54 percent of Twitter users access the service on a cell phone
- 19 percent of Twitter users are 25-34 (up from 9 percent in November 2010)
- 25 percent of online African Americans use Twitter at least occasionally (compared with 9 percent for online Caucasians)
While Twitter has not undergone the huge explosion Facebook did when it arrived on the scene, its numbers are steadily on the rise. In fact, the British Ministry of Defense sees the social network as being so popular, it is advising Twitter users to “be careful what they tweet.” The new British campaign warns against careless social media sharing, and goes so far as to say that enemy forces could be reading your tweets. Of course, this is mostly targeted towards military personnel, who may have more dangerous information to share, but still applies to civilian users as well.
Whether you think it or not, you hold valuable information. Sharing something as simple as your birthday could serve as a gateway into your personal life, helping someone hack into your identity, in both the physical and virtual worlds. If you work for a company you most likely know inside information that is unavailable to the public. With the growth of sites like Twitter, it is becoming increasingly more essential to keep your personal and work information private and away from the online community.
Let Twitter’s first major political casualty, Anthony Weiner, serve as a reminder to all: be careful what you tweet!