Saturday, April 21, 2012

Corgi Wars and Influential Tweets

When Jen Doll from the Atlantic Wire wrote "Seriously, What's so Great about Corgis?", she didn't realize that it would inflame a small riot on the Twittersphere. The hashtag followed as such; #CorgiWars. When I received a tweet from David Carr, a respected New York Times journalist, I was intrigued to say the least.
There were a series of tweets and people came out to declare their stance on Corgis. Needless to say, Doll wrote in response to the comments, refusing to recant.

As absurd as the situation above sounds, it still points to the fact that tweets, such as the one above, are influential and the sudden rise to defend a breed of dog is another small example of this. Yet despite this, the web that consists of Tweets and Twitter feeds are not created through connecting users, but is fueled by the make-up of the tweet. According to Jared Keller of the Atlantic Wire, it is the phrasing of a tweet that draws users in. It is not the sheer number of followers that an individual has, but the right wording and use of hashtags that influence fellow users. However, the number of Ashton Kutchers followers would beg to differ. To quote Keller, "Could Mr. Kutcher's messages about Nikon's new camera overwhelm hundreds of tweets about Trayvon Martin from hundreds of smaller, less-connected individuals?"

Influence in the Twittersphere is not made up of celebrities, but of trending topics. These topics vary from the mundane (i.e. #CorgiWars) to the more relevant (i.e. #Syria, #GOP)and despite this, it shows that Twitter is a space in which a person can have the same amount of influence as a celebrity may. They may not necessarily have the same followers, but it shows that a well written Tweet with the right hashtags can be used as an influential tool. The above image, provided by Indiana University, shows trending topics and the spread of a tweet with "Nodes represent[ing] Twitter users, and directed edges represent retweeted posts that carry the meme. The brightness of a node indicates the activity (number of retweets) of a user, and the weight of an edge reflects the number of retweets between two users." In essence, tweets are put to the test and if it relevant enough it will be passed on. Many organizations have utilized Twitter to provide news and information, including members of the press. If news organizations can utilize twitter better with the right words, than readers can be drawn in. It is up to them to make use of the 140 character limit. Corgi or no corgi.

1 comment:

  1. You've done a nice job integrating links and images in an interesting blog post that uses the timely example of the Corgi wars hashtag to make a larger point about how trending topics rather than celebrities are actually more important in the Twittersphere. In coming weeks when we look at the work of Laila Shereen Sakr (aka VJ Um Amel), we'll be thinking about news, activism, social media, and information graphics in ways that are quite relevant to this early posting.