The Long Story about the Short Medium -Twitter as a Communication Medium in Historical, Present, and Future Context

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Levinson, Paul

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Institute of Communication Research, Seoul National University
Journal of Communication Research, Vol.48 No.1. pp. 7-28
Twitt er, the hottest new medium in the social media landscape, has historical roots in such successful short forms as graffiti, telegrams, and book blurbs. The transformation of all consumers of social media into consumer‐producers has leveled the political playing field on Twitter, and the entertainment field as well, giving all Tweeters equal ability to converse with famous politicians and celebrities. As a written and multi‐medium, Twitter has evolved much like the evolution of all media, starting with writing and pictures, and moving on to sounds and moving images, in the same way that phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny in living organisms. Also like the biological world, Twitter is increasingly interconnected with other online organisms, e.g., Facebook and YouTube, moving our world ever closer to a noosphere of the Earth as an interconnected consciousness.
Further, Twitter and its descendant Foursquare are merging the real and virtual worlds, as GPS components of smart phones can tell anyone online where the user is located. Twitter also has a growing impact on the arts, leading to television sitcoms based on Tweets, novels created on Twitter, and new forms of documentaries made of short interviews. Media survive based on how well they satisfy a natural human need-which means the future of Twitter as a medium looks very promising.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute of Communication Research (언론정보연구소)Journal of Communication Research (언론정보연구)Journal of Communication Research (언론정보연구) vol.48 (2011)
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