Not a politician (John Key, the Prime Minister, ranks at number 7 with 28,492Followers); not a sports person; not a musician or famous actor… the most-followed twitter profile in this so-called most-secular of nations, New Zealand, is an Anglican priest who tweets quotes from the New Zealand Prayer Book, wise sayings from a variety of sources, points to online commentary on readings and prayers, updates about Canterbury’s earthquakes, and has the occasional joke or funny video.
I feel a bit mystified by the following – a bit like Brian in The Life of Brian:
MANDY: Don’t you ‘hello mother’ me. What are all those people doing out there?!
BRIAN: Oh. Well– well, I, uh–
MANDY: Come on! What have you been up to, my lad?!
BRIAN: Well, uh, I think they must have popped by for something.
MANDY: ‘Popped by’?! ‘Swarmed by’, more like! There’s a multitude out there!
BRIAN: Mm, they– they started following me yesterday.
MANDY: Well, they can stop following you right now. Now, stop following my son! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Life of Brian
Twitter began in 2006. I joined a year later – but couldn’t really “get it”. A year or so later I had another look at it, and after playing around with it for about a week, suddenly the penny dropped and I “got it”. I use TweetDeck – it is the only way I can really see what I’m doing.
Twitter has 100 million active users logging in at least once a month and 50 million active users every day. Sometimes twitter gives me news well before other sources. It can point me to areas of particular interest to me. To me, one of the more interesting aspects, is the ability to get answers to often obscure points. I can ask a question of my 75,000 followers – many/most of these follow me because of a similar passion for spirituality. If they don’t know the answer, they will retweet it – extending the range into the hundreds of thousands. As with any online experience, there is the occasional troll. Bots are easily blocked and twitter has worked hard and successfully to lessen their presence. Generally I have found twitter a positive community and culture. People appear to be there mostly to improve their own and others’ lives.