Twitter Literacy: what makes the tool valuable?

Critic and writer Howard Rheingold has just coined a very interesting concept. The Twitter Literacy theory (“I refuse to make up a Twittery name for it”, says Rheingold) is motivated by the fact that Nielsen recently noted that 60% of new Twitter users fail to return on the following month. The author argues a series of issues that can help users to avoid the spam and find their own way to the real conversation:

 

 

 

Picture by Luc Legay on Flickr.

  • Openness – anyone can join, and anyone can follow anyone else
  • Immediacy – You won’t get the sense of Twitter if you just check in once a week
  • Variety – political or technical argument, gossip, scientific info, news flashes, poetry, social arrangements, classrooms, …
  • Reciprocity – people give and ask freely for information they need
  • A channel to multiple publics – I’m a communicator and have a following that I want to grow and feed. I can get the word out about a new book or vlog post in second…
  • A way to meet new people – Connecting with people who share interests has been the most powerful social driver of the Internet since day one.
  • Community-forming – Twitter is not a community, but it’s an ecology in which communities can emerge.
  • A platform for mass collaborationTwestival (online charity event) has raised over a quarter of a million dollars via Twitter, funding 55 clean water projects for 17,000 people in Ethiopia, Uganda, and India.
  • Searchability – the ability to follow searches for phrases like “swine flu” or “Howard Rheingold” in real time provides a kind of ambient information radar on topics that interest me.

Please, read the whole Rheingold’s article at SFgate.com for a complete vision of the story.

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