Over the years’ new social media has developed. In Gershon’s “The Breakup 2.0” the main focus is Facebook. This book was published in 2010. Here we are in 2016, just 6 years later and Facebook is not the most popular social media anymore. Now we have Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other evolving social media sites. In this blog I will be focusing on Twitter, using examples from my friends to help explain. I will however alter the names of my friends.
Twitter has many different components. It is adding something new to it all the time. One aspect of twitter is moments. According to Twitter’s website, moments are stories that you can scroll through to look at pictures or just tweets that others are tweeting just about that certain story. For example, as I am writing this there is a moments section about the NFL’s week 13. If you click on that you can then scroll through and find out what people are saying. Another aspect of Twitter is the Direct Message section which can be used to contact people without others knowing. Then the most obvious aspect is the tweet.
Media ideology can be defined as people’s beliefs about how a medium communicates and structures communication (Gershon, pg. 18). The media ideology of Twitter is simply a place where you can release your thoughts for others to see in just 140 characters. This can reveal your feelings, wants or needs to others without actually talking to them, that’s why Twitter is a very important form of nonverbal communication. Usually when people tweet they have a purpose. Maybe you are sub tweeting someone, maybe you want someone to know you are mad without directly telling them, or maybe you are just sad and want to vent online, whatever the purpose is, people may interpret what you are saying in a different way than what you intended. Sometimes, people think they know what you are tweeting about when in reality they have no idea. I talked to one of my friends about this and here is what she had to say:
I had a crush on this guy from school and he had been liking all of my tweets, so I thought if I would tweet I wanted to go to Bdubs he might respond to me. I was kind of giving an open invitation because I did not want to be a creep and just tweet @ him because I did not really know him. Then one of my girlfriends tweeted me and said she would go with me. She ruined my plan, and he never tweeted me so I guess he was not that into me.
This shows us that even though Nicole knew what she wanted the outcome to be, her friend just thought she really wanted to go to Bdubs. The boy probably had no idea why she had tweeted that or even that it was for him. Another example, is when a different friend we can call her Jen, tweeted sad lyrics and her boyfriend freaked out. Here is what she had to say:
I was a senior in high school, and I had this boyfriend that was very clingy and nosey. One time I was listening to Pandora and a sad country song came on. It was a song from my uncle’s funeral. I tweeted it just because it brought back a memory to me, it was not meant towards anyone. My boyfriend texted me asking me what he did and why was I sad? I had to explain to him that it had nothing to do with him and that the whole world did not revolve around him. Looking back now I should have known to breakup with him.
This again shows us that one person meant one thing and someone interpreted it the wrong way. Both of these examples suggest that people have different media ideologies.
Idioms of Practice
People have many different idioms of practice for Twitter. For example, when couples are in a fight they may start tweeting mean things about one another, or tweet indications that they are going to break up with the other person. Sometimes people put all of their relationship problems on Twitter, even if it only relates to those two people and should be kept private. One time I had a friend tweet “I can’t do this anymore; I need a break”. I brought it up to her and asked her first what it was about and then, why she thought it was okay to put it on twitter. Here is what she said:
This was when my boyfriend and I were having a hard time and I just needed to tell someone so I vented to twitter. He doesn’t have a twitter so I knew he wouldn’t see it. I really don’t know why I put it on twitter though, at the time I thought it would make me feel better, looking back I should have gone to him first because after I tweeted it everyone went straight to him about it anyway.
Twitter users also have the choice to block a follower or, deny them access to their account. When couples have a bad breakup, it may cause them to want to never see what the other person is saying again. For example, a couple breaks up because the girl was cheated on. She may block her ex-boyfriend just so she does not have to see new girls he is tweeting. I actually have come into contact with someone that has had this happen. My best friend and her boyfriend broke up about a year ago and here is what happened:
She had broken up with him because she no longer wanted a boyfriend. She just wanted to focus on school and basketball. He was not happy about this, obviously. About 6 months after the breakup, he started tweeting things like “I wish I had my cuddle buddy back for these storms” and it was definitely about her because he had never tweeted anything before that. She thought it was weird and she didn’t want to see it so she just blocked him from twitter.
Another idiom of practice is when people put they are in a relationship in their bio. I usually see this in younger Twitter users. For example, there bio would say “taken by the best 11/11/15”. This leaves people knowing they are in a relationship, but sometimes you don’t get to know who, which is frustrating. Sometimes people do this for attention, or just to let other people know not to try and talk to them.
Structure of the Medium
Twitter is a very easy way to contact people. Essentially, you only need to know their name to find them on Twitter. This is easier than texting or emailing because really no prior conversation before needs to be done. It is very casual and usually just used between friends, never formal. Twitter also allows you to delete tweets which may be helpful after a night out. When talking to a family member about this, here is what she had to say:
I went out one night and I tweeted things that just did not make sense. I was happy that I was able to delete them because I sounded stupid in them. I didn’t want any more people to see that, it was embarrassing enough that some already had.
Even though my example does not have to do with a relationship, this could still be true with a relationship. If someone goes out and meets someone of the other sex, and tweets about them, their significant other may get mad, or people may take it the wrong way. By deleting the tweet, it will resolve the conflict. The delete function is very beneficial. Another feature that twitter has is Direct Messaging, which is private messaging. This allows people to talk back and forth about anything that they want and surprisingly, it actually leads to relationships. I knew that Kelly and her boyfriend had started dating because of Twitter so I talked to her about it and here is what she said.
I never would have thought Travis liked me. Sure, he followed me on Twitter, but we were from the same area, so that was normal. He slid into my DMs with some corny joke and we started DMing back and forth until finally he asked for my number. I thank Twitter for my relationship today!
On the other hand, this gives cheaters a way to hide other relationships they may be having. They can hide this way easier than text messages. All they would have to do is logout of Twitter and their significant other would never know.
On Twitter you are able to link your tweets with other social media. For example, if you put a picture on Instagram, you can also choose to put it on Twitter with just a click of a button. These two are very intertwined. The things people post on Instagram about usually are highly tied with what they tweet about. For example, if someone posts a lot of pictures about their dog, they usually will share tweets about how much they love dogs, or funny things their dogs have done. These two are so intertwined because both Instagram and twitter are about sharing thoughts or life experiences with friends. I don’t really think they link as well with Facebook because Facebook a lot of the time is used to rant, and you are not allowed enough characters to do that on twitter. When I asked Kelly about this, she said:
I never really thought about this but when I look at my twitter and my Instagram they really do show similar things. I usually tweet my friends and about them and that is usually what my pictures are of on Instagram.
This could also have to do with a relationship because someone that is crazy about their boyfriend and girlfriend will most of the time only tweet about them or share pictures of them. Couples would rather tweet about their relationship because it allows a lot of people to see how happy they are. They would not just text it to a single person because then it would not be able to be seen by others. Going in the other direction, people that breakup because of cheating will more than likely tweet about it just so a lot of other people know she or he has been cheated on, making the other look bad to others.
Second- Order information
Sometimes on Twitter, when people tweet at someone they expect a response or a like or retweet. When they don’t get that they may over think it. They might think that the other person is mad, or their tweet was stupid, even if it could be that the other person is just busy. Also, if someone DMs someone and the other person doesn’t answer that may make the other person feel embarrassed. I have a friend that DM’d a girl and she never responded but then he found out she just didn’t use twitter very often anymore.
Me: How did you feel when that girl didn’t answer you?
L: I felt really dumb. I wanted to undo it because I felt like she was weirded out.
M: Did you ever think she was just busy?
L: At first, no I didn’t, but then I realized she hadn’t tweeted in a long time so then I just told myself that she had never seen what I sent her
In relationships, if one person tweets the other that they love them and the other doesn’t respond, may cause concern. The one that tweeted may think that something is wrong or the other person is trying to tell them something.
What is the Public
On Twitter the Public is everyone that is on Twitter. If you are not a private account then anyone that searches you can see your tweets, just like with any other social media site. This may become a problem when you have family, coaches or teachers seeing your profile. Some of the things you tweet may be inappropriate for some audiences. For example, you don’t want your grandma to know that you went out last night and don’t remember any of it. Also, if you were in a relationship previously, you don’t want to leave old pictures, or tweets about your ex up for everyone to see. This may cause for questions to be asked like, “you seemed so happy, what happened?” If you get rid of the tweets and pictures people should know that things ended badly and you don’t want to talk about it. It may also cause concern in a future relationship like it did for my friend Jason.
I had my profile picture on Twitter of my old girlfriend and I. The thing is, I never used Twitter and my now girlfriend was still mad because everyone could see it and they might think I was still with the other girl. It really made me mad because I don’t think it should have mattered what other people think.
You can also create a smaller public by making your account private and only letting people you want see your profile. This will allow you to block out the family, coaches, and teachers that you don’t want seeing these things.