Monday, May 13, 2013

@Pontifex and @justinbieber on Twitter

I could have taken other twitter accounts with mass following, but mass inevitably leads to @Pontifex (as he holds mass) and @justinbieber (as he accumulated the largest mass of followers - 39,038,384).

If we compare similarities and dissimilarities between the two, we might come closer to understand phenomena created by twitter.

An old man versus a very young man. The comparison won't bring us any further.

A learned man versus a not so well educated man. Has this any impact on followers? Maybe on the kind of follower, each one attracts. Maybe on the tweets they write.

Do they write their own tweets? It's unclear. I doubt it. Both have entourages that will eagerly fulfill this task. Mass following means that there will hardly be any account to account twittering as "mentioning" of both will be overfloaded with tweets. As @Pontifex follows no one except himself, his timeline will be useless. As @justinbieber is following 122,874 is also useless as it will be overflowing. On May 11th @justinbieber tweeted: “God is great” and “Live life full”. @Pontifex tweeted on May 10th: “The Holy Spirit brings to our hearts a most precious gift: profound trust in God’s love and mercy.” Maybe they tweet sometimes on their own, but they don’t engage in bidirectional communication. Or they might do by PM.

There are quite a lot of retweets by people who hardly reach as many people as @Pontifex and @justinbieber. So it’s open to discussion, why they retweet. Maybe it’s something like a fav.

The idea of @Pontifex to use twitter as a means to spread the gospel is a good one. But is this kind of twittering with a tweet per day more than having a rip off calendar with a quote a day? Hardly! Or is it that people might attribute that the pope himself is tweeting to each individual? That would be fatal!

@justinbieber uses his account to thank his fans, to spread pictures, to announce tour details, and congratulates his mother on Mother’s. Some people might say: “Ain’t he sweet?!” But he uses twitter successfully for commercial purposes. Nothing wrong with this side of twitter.

Maybe we'll see a social media @Pontifex soon. There are dangers in it, which he circumvents at the moment. He likes to talk to people, but would he like to answer to tweets? How could he restrict it without only following the Roman curia?

Twitter has started with very few gadgets and limitations. There is the 140 character restriction, which is sufficient for most purposes. So one phenomenon is self organisation. Groups or circles and their members will organize themselves. That means lots of freedom.

Links can be multiplied within a short time. That means certain news will spread at breathtaking speed. But there's also the danger that such a phenomenon could be misused. Both @Pontifex and @justinbieber won't have this problem as long as it concerns their own tweets. There's a caveat, however. As long as their accounts aren't hacked. Twitter accounts get hacked as twitterworld isn't better than the real world. It could be, it should be, but it isn't.
‏@Pontifex_de Die Schöpfung zu hüten ist nicht bloß ein Aufruf Gottes zu Beginn der Geschichte, sondern geht jeden von uns an und ist Teil seines Plans.
@Rheumatologe "Die Schöpfung zu hüten" - wer hat denn das übersetzt? Schafe hütet man, die Schöpfung sollten wir bewahren.
The corresponding tweet in English is:
@Pontifex Care of creation is not just something God spoke of at the dawn of history: he entrusts it to each of us as part of his plan.
@Rheumatologe Who translated "To shepherd the creation? One shepherds sheep, we should care for the creation.

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