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The conduit of culture online. Deal with it.

By: Gary J. Nix | Reading Time: 3 Min

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To some, the story alluded to via title and title card of this LinkedIn article is obvious. This is partially due to the fact that I feel like we've had this conversation a few times before. However, the need to present this premise in this manner is based upon the way(s) so many brands and people tend to approach the platform known as Twitter. So, here I am again, this time accompanied by Captain Obvious in hopes that his presence will help prove my point regarding the power of Twitter for businesses.

The genesis of this particular "genius"

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The inclination to pen this post (and subsequent soon-to-be posts) was born from a keynote presentation for high school tech students in Queens at an event produced by Genius Genesis. The purpose of the pulled slide above was to help them focus on their strengths and get them to understand where they could fit in today's business ecosystem. What spawned from this was a number of conversations about specific jobs and platforms and, shortly thereafter, my eureka moment about Twitter itself.

This whole time, I had been using entirely too many words to clearly and concisely convey the power of Twitter to brands and all I had to do was introduce the simple framework above. Who knew?

If you think about it, this schema puts what is all too often the most misunderstood social media channel into an easily consumable light, with perspective, whether you are within the friendly confines of the blue bird's nest or partnering with them in some way. Or as Captain Obvious would say, this diagram breaks down the components on which effective Twitter usage exists. Taking the thought process a step further would identify how it can and should be effectively used by brands.

Let me show you...

Tech: the vehicle

If you let Captain Obvious tell it, Twitter is that it's a platform on which people can easily communicate using primarily short, text-based messages. You can use the website, the native app, one of a number of companion apps or even via the text function on your mobile phone.

I would say Twitter is a platform where you can easily convey, share, build and mobilize over idea and thoughts. The speed at which idea/info distribution can take place on this channel has been crucial to groups advocating for good and those using it as a cudgel to disrupt. Conversations about the good and bad notwithstanding, technology that can be used to do amazingly good or bad is an example of power.

Media: the message

Captain Obvious knows that any platform that is responsible for 500 million messages (read: tweets) a day should be considered a media phenomenon. Expand that to a month, and you have any one or few of more than a billion tweets seen by potentially 830 million people—330 million monthly users and 500 million people who find Twitter content without logging into the platform.

In addition, I've spoken and written extensively about how everything in our content-driven world goes through Twitter. Critically speaking, the efficacy of any organized group's flow of communication can be a reflection of that group's abilities. Therefore, it is imperative that we acknowledge this platform's media influence as a major strength even while the amount of monthly active users on there is less than that of some of its competitors.

Culture: the impetus

This is where things really get interesting. While a great deal of what is communicated on this channel is ensconced in the zeitgeist, much of the media that actually matters on Twitter has some cultural connection. Whether it is a specific instance gone viral, some sort of event, the livetweeting of a popular television show, or a vital movement such as Arab Spring, #BlackLivesMatter or #YesAllWomen, you could readily draw the line from any one moment to any one [sub]cultural interest. As a matter of fact, the momentum catalyzed by cultural points or trends can help identify why people are over the moon happy on the platform or what produced highly contentious, yet justified instants on the timeline.

More importantly, word on the tweets is that the internal culture at Twitter is on the road to match the same energy of those on the outside. Seeing many of the people on the inside taking their #StartWithThem campaign seriously is a good sign of what is yet to come. Why? Because if they can provide safer spaces for active, intersecting cultures—the driving force behind the activity, influence, and importance of any social media platform—the more valuable Twitter becomes for anyone using the platform.

So, now that you have a better idea about what the point of Twitter is, what will you do to contribute to its betterment? I'll leave that open question for a conversation below.

Gary J. NixComment