By Nora Kline ’11
My initial decision to join twitter in the summer of 2010 was based on a fairly superficial reason. I simply wanted to know what reality stars like the Kardashian sisters and the cast of Jersey Shore were up to in their “normal” lives. I wanted to be wowed by their insightful “tweets” and awed by their glamorous mobile uploads. I spent day after day continuously checking my blackberry to see if any of my stars had breaking news or jaw dropping advice.
But as this April rolled around I started getting mysteriously exciting emails saying that “so and so” is following me on twitter. Huh? My twitter account had been active for over eight months and I had only accumulated four followers – two of which, were family members. Overly self-conscious of my lack of twitter popularity, every twitter notification caused a rush of excitement. As my number of followers uncharacteristically started to creep up, I came to the conclusion that Govs had been hit by a twitter epidemic.
After ten or so months of “tweeting,” I not only see names like Kim Kardashian and Sn00ki on my twitter feed but also names of my classmates and friends. Twitter has gone from my celebrity stalking device to a social forum of familiar faces. So why the sudden tweeting craze? Twitter is famous for “humanizing” celebrities and making their dedicated followers feel as if they have a window into their personal lives. When I see that Taylor Swift just tweeted that she is window shopping in downtown Nashville or just finished two loads of laundry, I feel a friendly, and maybe somewhat creepy, connection to her. I do not view her as the chart topping country sensation that she’s famous for. I see her as a regular person doing regular things.
And so it seems that when “normal” people like Govs students create twitter accounts it has the opposite effect. When I see my friends tweeting, it almost makes them seem like celebrities. Underneath John Mayer’s tweet there is a tweet from the boy I sit next to in English class or the girl I used to carpool with. My twitter feed is an intermingled web of distant idols, close friends, and everything in between.