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OUTLINE I. Twitter as one of the most usedmicrobloggingsite a. Twitter, as definedby Twitter b.

The goodof 140 charactersonly


c. The rising of smartphonesmarketaddspopularity to Twitter

i. Reasonswhy smartphonesaddspopularity to Twitter II. In manyinstances,Twitter is usedfor morethan just to tell whats happening. a. BarackObamausesTwitter in gainingmassesin his presidential campaign,2008 b. The usageof Twitter in passingof the HealthcareBill, 2010 c. The emergenceof the IndonesiaUnitemovement,2009 d. Aboveare only small exampleson howTwitter is usedmorethan just a microbloggingsite III. Expectationson Twitter are high a. Hillary Clintonconsideredcommunicationtechnologyto be important b. The requestmadeby U.S. StateDepartmentto halt routineshutdown c. The expectationsmaybe realistic, sinceinformationis gettingmoreopen d. However,sinceit is new, manyexpectationsare still far out of reach e. Nevertheless,expectationsare growing,and Twitter will becomemoreprominent

Twitterand its GrowingPopularity

In the last one or two years, Twitter has gainedprominenceas one of the most used micro bloggingsite in the world1, with around18 million membersby the end of 2009.2 Twitter is a real-time informationnetwork powered by people around the world which uses only 140 characters to report on whats happening.3 While many people are questioningwhy Twitter only limits writing to only 140 characters, for me there is a goodside of it: to keepthe updaterunningwhile you are on-the-go. The rising prominenceof smartphones,
1 2

BrianBraiker, Twitter Nation, Newsweek (July 2008). AdamOstrow,18 Million Twitter Usersby End of 2009. Mashable, September14, 2009. http://mashable.com/2009/09/14/twitter-2009-stats/ (accessedMarch25, 2010). 3 Twitter, AboutTwitter. Twitter, 2010. http://twitter.com/about(accessedMarch25, 2010).

such as BlackBerry and Apple iPhone makes Twitter even more popular. The easiness of tweeting from any places possible, the ability to check on updates at any time, and the briefness of information to send and to read are only some reasons why in these days using a smartphone to access Twitter has gained popularity.

The rising popularity of Twitter makesit often used for more than just to tell people whats happening. For example, Barack Obama, currently the 44th President of the United States, used Twitter in campaigning at the Democratic presidential primaries, where he was able to defeat Hillary RodhamClinton, and used it to gain masses in the 2008 presidential election, where he defeated Senator John McCain.4 Obama later foundTwitter to be useful in 2010in passingthe HealthcareBill, wherethe White HouseconsideredTwitter a logical extensionof their campaignstrategywherethey used the Internet and viral videosto spreadtheir messagesas quickly and as thoroughlyas possible.5 Not only in the U.S., manyIndonesiansfoundTwitter as a powerful tool to organize an online movement, as happened to the emergence of the online
6 IndonesiaUnite movement,after the wakeof the 2009KuninganBombing. The movementwas one of the 7 most prominenttopics in several days followingthe tragedy, and gainedpopularity also outside Indonesia.

Those are merely small examples of how Twitter has been used for more than just a micro blogging site, fromgainingmassesto creatingonlinesocial movements.

Looking at Obamas Change we can believe in campaign through Twitter and many other social networking sites, expectations on the usage of Twitter and these other sites are high now. One of them comes from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who considered that communication technology is
8 important in promoting democracy. Hillary Clinton was not just putting a statement, at the turmoil of 2009

Iranian presidential election; The U.S. Department of State went as far as telling the representatives of Twitter to halt the routine shutdown of Twitter,9 because many people were using it as an information channel to inform what was happening in Iran. The expectation itself may be realistic, since with Twitter
4

INSEAD,HowObamaUsedSocial NetworkingToolsto Win. INSEAD, July 10, 2009. http://knowledge.insead.edu/contents/HowObamausedsocialnetworkingtowin090709.cfm(accessedMarch25, 2010). 5 The JakartaGlobe,WhiteHouseLeanedon Twitter to PassHealthBill, The Jakarta Globe, March23, 2010. 6 AshleeBetteridge,NationalismSwells Onlinein Wakeof Attacks, The Jakarta Globe, July 19, 2009. 7 Desi Anwar,Desi Anwar:UnitingIndonesia, The Jakarta Globe, August14, 2009. 8 RichardG. Lugar, Twitter vs. Terror, Foreign Policy, January6, 2010. 9 Ibid.

information is getting more open, that everybody can access anything, anywhere, at any time. However, since this Twitter phenomenonis relatively new, some of the expectations are perhaps still out of reach. Nevertheless, the expectations are growing, and Twitter will become more prominent in many years to come,as to other social networkingand microbloggingsites.

MatthewHanzel Studentof Dept. of InternationalRelations Faculty of Social and Political Science UniversitasPelita Harapan