I came to Twitter skeptically. The first day of my journalism master’s program a professor required us to sign up, so I did. As I claimed @emilyeggleston, I wondered if my future self would wistfully mark that moment as the start of an exponential rise in the amount of time I spent staring at my phone. If you’d handed me this New York Time’s op-ed, My case against Twitter, I probably would’ve yanked my fingers from the keyboard and remained account-less, class requirement or no.
But two years later, the only thing I regret about signing up is not choosing a shorter handle. Here’s why.
As a journalist who needs to find and share information, and as a person who wants understand how the world is connected, being on Twitter is a given. The blog post title is an exaggeration, because of course not all people are tweeters. But Twitter is truly a force on the world’s stage. Tweeters had a leading role in the Arab Spring, Twitter helped at least one newsroom win a Pulitzer Prize, and next up might be the Nobel Peace Prize (researchers suggest tweeting vastly broadens the political diversity a person encounters).
Then, as I caught up on some news this morning, I saw Twitter take new prominence in world affairs. From The Guardian:
“Tehran took the Foreign Office by surprise, tweeting on Rouhani’s English-language feed that the president would also be prepared to meet Hague, something the UK had not even requested.
“Tehran has responded positively to UK’s request. President Rouhani’s meeting w/WilliamJHague on the sidelines of UNGA has been confirmed,” the tweet said.
“We would be happy to meet,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said, “but we have had nothing formal from Tehran about it.”
Diplomats said that the tweet reflected the new Iranian government’s eagerness to make diplomatic headway on the nuclear issue, which has been at an impasse for several years.”
So here I am, thousands of tweets and a good few Storifies later, offering a quiet and humble thanks to Twitter, for providing an unprecedented and now prominent communication medium to a world that seems to have needed it.