When you have a job that needs to be done and you are not that keen to do it yourself, then you could very well decide to ask someone else to do it. This is known as “outsourcing” the job, and has been a part of business for a very long time. With the increased popularity of social networking it has become possible to get work or information from a greater number of people. This is the age of “crowdsourcing”. It is becoming very popular.
The first time you sign on to Twitter, you will be greeted by a question at the top of the screen which may seem impertinent. The line of text says, in full, “What Are You Doing?”. The literal answer to this may not be anything particularly interesting. Indeed, it may be “Logging on to Twitter”. It may go without saying, but this question need not be answered in full every time you read it. The more basic and banal your Twitter updates are, the less likely people are to follow you. That’s not to say that you can never post basic updates, but if you tell people every time you sneeze, they’re going to lose interest.
It is often said that one of the best things about Twitter is that it updates in real time, and that when things are flowing well it is not unlike being at a party, or at least a reasonably lively meeting. But there are two sides to every coin, and it is worth taking account of the fact that immediacy can make things very hard to take back, particularly when the information you have posted is sensitive, and/or is reported quickly by other people in such a way as to make you look stupid or expose something you would rather not have said or done.
The amazing growth of Twitter would defy all the laws of fast-growing phenomena if it did not have its detractors. And it is unquestionable that Twitter does, very much, have people queuing up to find fault with it. It would be dishonest to suggest, too, that all of these detractors were arguing from a position of ignorance. Many of them know what they are talking about – and many, indeed, do not. But what are the arguments against Twitter?
The continuing etymology of the word “spam” is of interest to people with an interest in how words can develop, change meanings and take on additional, new ones. Originally used as a brand name for a tinned, processed meat, it was picked up and used in a Monty Python sketch and from there was adopted to refer to e-mail which was unsolicited, unwelcome and used to aggressively drive a message (usually commercial) regardless of audience. As time has passed, it has come to be used in terms of any unwelcome proliferation of information or advice.