Twitter has been lost to celebri-tweets

Erin Rose O’Brien

Sometimes, friends of mine will tweet something like, “I don’t know why you guys follow me, my life isn’t remotely interesting.” They make a good point. I have no idea why I follow anyone other than @ShitMyDadSays.

Since Twitter began as a microblogging service, the vast majority of its content has been, to be quite frank, boring: blog diaries on the Internet. The average person’s diary is mundane, the average person’s blog is mundane, and I don’t see why the average person’s Twitter would be any different. But I digress.

The self-deprecating comment of “I don’t know why you people follow me” only proves that we’ve succumbed to Twitter’s other purpose: celebrity promotion.

Twitter has become just another outlet for celebrity vanity, as demonstrated by the number of “verified accounts” the common Twitter user follows. We seem to care a lot more about what, say, Justin Bieber is tweeting instead of what our best friends have to say. We are tantalized with blurry set pictures of the upcoming season of “The Office” and bombarded with the wisdom of Oprah in 140 characters or less. Twitter gives us a look into famous people’s lives in real time. We consume their lives, constantly fascinated with figures that seem so unlike us.

Thus, our mortal tweets seem to pale in comparison. This may be the reason why billions of people create Twitter accounts, but only a million or so regularly tweet. It’s like we feel discouraged to tell everybody about what we ate for breakfast (“Brunch at Palladium, lol. Chocolate fountain!”). I mean, when Twitter began, it was about the people. The common folk. The ones who wanted to spew out Facebook statuses every 15 minutes but didn’t want to feel annoying.

Still, if Twitter had remained the generic microblogging site it was intended to be, it probably would have stayed under the radar. It could have fallen the way of LiveJournal: dead and decaying. Celebrities and newsgroups and store promotions may have saved Twitter from a certain demise, even though they have changed its inherent purpose.

The famous have saved Twitter from certain death, but also contributed to the awkward upswing of users who sign up and don’t say anything at all. So let’s not let the affluent make us feel bad about ourselves, shall we? Go ahead, tweet about your awesome Saturday night. Or you can succumb and retweet that really funny thing Kanye just posted. That’s probably the better option. People will actually read that.

Erin Rose O’Brien is a columnist for the Washington Square News at New York University.< /i>