The Optimism of Twitter: Guest Blogger Examines the Use and Influence of "Tweets"

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This week optimism guru Dr. Russ Buss and the staff at the Moment-to-Moment Optimism blog are highlighting great posts of guest bloggers. One such blogger is Courtney B., who shares her take on the 21st century way people around the globe are connecting and influencing others through Twitter. Be it broadcasting the news of protests in Iran or enabling fans of Michael Jackson to express their grief and mourn together, Twitter has given millions of people the opportunity to engage in real time news and discussions. While some fail to see the usefulness, or need, of mini updates giving others a look at what's going on in one's life, this guest blogger argues otherwise.

In the midst of terrible situations, whether their genesis is personal, work related, or even of national significance, optimism can be directly related to how isolated you feel from everyone else.

In the past two weeks, Iranians have undergone a falsified election, massive protests and violence in the streets not seen since 1979. All the while though, Iranians themselves have taken up the call for revolution - and broadcast that call via the modern day equivalent of Paul Revere's Ride - Twitter. Similarly, in the wake of the sudden death of Pop icon Michael Jackson, tweets, in conjunction with media specials, newspaper articles, and radio tributes, helped fans to grieve the loss of their favorite singer.

Twitter, initially panned by many, (including New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd) has proven, through these kinds of events, to be a useful tool in bringing people together.

In our society wrought with 'bowling alone' kinds of tendencies, sometimes the value of connecting with others over challenging situations is forgotten. Twitter provides a uniquely 21st century answer to the problems associated with sticking it out on your own. The benefits of twitter lie in the connections that the people behind the twitter posts can make. Pull up a search on any keyword subject, and suddenly your feelings no longer stand-alone, instead they sit within a potentially world-wide dialogue.

While Ms. Dowd criticizes the frivolous nature of most tweets, the world events of the past two weeks have certainly proven her criticism to be premature. It seems that inherent to being able to say whatever one may want, both fluff and substantive tweets appear - and that's the beauty (and the optimism) of it. The medium can sustain (and thrive!) with both elegiac and subversive messages.

So, don't wait for a revolution or the death of a major celebrity to put in your two cents worth. Tweet away!

For more, including the New York Times link to Maureen Dowd's interview with Twitter's inventors, be sure to check out Moment-to-Moment Optimism! Get on board, check out the blog!

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Laura Murthum

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