Twitter: The place has a double-edged sword

I signed up a Twitter account @LInsulate in 2012 and the reason I signed up was to follow some NBA stars like Kobe and Lebron to focus on their activities. While because the existence of the block we call “wall”, I have to use VPN to view Twitter, which always makes me too lazy to use my Twitter. Even if now I am in an environment where I can log in Twitter without VPN, to be honest, I still don’t have a habit using Twitter like the way I use Weibo(Chinese Twitter).


While to be honest, two-week Twitter assignment makes me find some interest points. In past two weeks, I followed 12 people who relate to the sports, no matter he or she is a player, a journalist, or an analyst. A funny thing I found is that more than half of these people don’t use hashtag frequently, some of them, like @stephenasmith never use any hashtag(at least after I followed him) except share video with an auto hashtag created by the app he uses. This phenomenon in my own perspective is caused because as a professional, especially in sports field, need one always remains neutral. “While Where hashtags indicate group-level discourse…often brings them to the attention of the trending topic algorithm ”(Brock, 2012, p. 541). What’s more, the identity of opinion leader in their field may make this happens easier. So in my point of view, these people prefer not to use hashtag regularly to avoid potential quarrels.


A totally different image was shown when I focus the list I created, because all Twitter accounts I added in this list are brand accounts, they always use hashtag to emphasize the latest goods they release or the topics for propaganda. As Crandall and Cunningham opinion, hashtag makes “people do the work of finding the information and having discussions…This strategy could be good for democracy as/if it stirs people to discover and converse” (Crandall & Cunningham, 2012, p. 27). I agree with their viewpoints while in my opinion a good hashtag which can be remembered by people easily, like #heretocreate by Adidas, is helpful for them to build an image of goods or brand.


Talk a little bit more about “list”, Weibo has a similar function like list that you can classify people who you follow into different groups, while Twitter makes it more convenient because you don’t need to follow the person you want to add. I think it is really useful for people, maybe especially for some celebrities, who don’t want others to know who they follow while wanting to focus on some certain people. What’s more, based on my experience in past two weeks, using a list absolutely saves our time. To be specific, when you add people in a list, you avoid wasting time during scroll and scroll to find the tweet you would like to see, and we always add people in the same field in the same list, so we can easily find all these people’s attitude in a very short time when some significant things happen in that field.




6 thoughts on “Twitter: The place has a double-edged sword

  1. Need one always remains neutral. I am surprised about but agree with this conclusion! Because before studying abroad, I used to believe that because America is a country of freedom, everyone will show their bias to something they focused. They don’t need to have any extra consideration. However, after this assignment, I began to think about that some public figures, no matter where they come from, need to be neutral because they have public influence ability. They should be wary. However, it also raise another question: if public figures show bias to some events, do they really have bias to them?


  2. Hi, Lin’ao,
    I did’t notice that some opinion leaders may not use hashtags before. And I also agree that sometimes people need to be neutral to avoid cyber bullies online.
    I still find out that American people can share more personal opinions online than we do in China. Even the president election is closely related to the media management and personal image building. This week, I saw how Hillary and Trump exaggerate each other’s fault on Twitter.
    But just like Neil Postman pointed out in Amusing Ourselves to Death, while we rely on social media to get information and to judge a person, is it really dangerous that we are easy to get superficial fact? Is it possible that the person who is chosen to be the political leader is just good at building a good image in the media and public?


  3. I’ve enjoyed learning about Weibo and WeChat and other Chinese apps and social media networks in class and on the blogs. Ignoring the government censorship part, I feel like these platforms are very robust and efficient communication tools. They are one-stop shops where you can do everything from chat with friends to shop to learn breaking news. You also mention “lists” as more useful on Weibo than Twitter.
    And it even seems like that Chinese social media networks are so effective at connecting like-minded people that hashtag activism has succeeded in spite of government interference. We’ve discussed some examples in class/blogs.

    Of course, I’m ignorant on this topic (though i’ve used weChat a little) and don’t understand the obstacles and advantages of these platforms. But I’ve enjoyed the compare and contrast between popular U.S. social media networks and Chinese ones each time it has come up


  4. I think it was interesting that you previously followed mostly sports stars and decided to follow other types of opinion leaders this week, where as I was the opposite! I chose to follow American football players because normally I don’t really follow sports people.

    I think it’s really interesting how different social media networks take off in different countries. I’ve heard of Weibo and WeChat before but I’ve never used them.


  5. 10 new people: Good. However, I think what you said about hashtags — “as a professional, especially in sports field, need one always remains neutral” — might be true for the journalists, but less true for the athletes. A lot of athletes are very opinionated on Twitter. Sometimes they like to “throw shade,” which can be similar to “signifyin’,” which we discussed in class.

    List: Very cool that the list you made is so different from the people you followed. This shows you the wide variety of opinions and conversations that can be found on Twitter if we look for them.

    You wrote: “using a list absolutely saves our time.” Very true!
    Refs to articles: Okay.


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