Are you aware of this? [CRITICAL - see temporary note at bottom of this page]
Rotation Curation elevates social media to cultural networking — read on.
THAT WAS THEN: Twitter began in 2006 as a way for people to share their activities and thoughts among friends and family who wanted to stay up to date with one another. One of its developers, Crystal Taylor, jokingly called it “FriendStalker” — but it rapidly developed into much more than that. Dom Sagolla wrote in his hypertext book, 140 Characters, “We all knew that we were going to change the world with this thing that no one else understood.” Twitter began to add features: private accounts, direct messaging, an application programming interface (API, so outside developers could interact), a web interface, RSS and IM integration. Then, in 2007, Twitter hit SwSX and exploded onto the world stage, where @replies (and therefore conversations) and searchability then enabled Twitter to take its place as, on the one hand, a megaphone for celebrities to interact with (and increase) their fan base, and, on the other hand, a serious, major communications medium for real-time coverage of breaking news and world events: Obama’s election, the Mumbai terrorist attack, and the airliner crash in the Hudson River. Most recently, Twitter played a key role in the Arab Spring and Occupy movements.
THIS IS NOW: Twitter has become, literally, the most revolutionary communications medium since Gutenberg’s movable type. In his day, Gutenberg took the printed page and atomized it into discrete characters, individually addressable and functional, thereby freeing printed communications to become a quick, dynamic and fluid medium for all of humanity, not just an elite enterprise of the privileged. In our day, Twitter is commonly considered, along with Facebook, as a prime example of “social media” — but this is profoundly short-sighted. Twitter is certainly social in its ability to enable people to communicate with one another, but to limit one’s understanding to this mere fact is to severely miss what is happening.
Twitter is truly the most revolutionary communications medium in over 500 years because it combines four key factors:
- it is globally instantaneous
- it is concise and efficient – only 140 characters
- it is multimedia – text, images, hyperlinks to video, audio, and the web
- it is taggable and searchable
This means that two total strangers anywhere on the planet can connect to one another on the basis of a mutual interest in a matter of mere seconds. This is unprecedented in human history.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ROTATION CURATION? What was once a way for individuals to reach individuals has taken a great leap forward. In December of 2011, the Swedish governmental tourist bureau, VisitSweden, and the Swedish Institute, realizing that the world’s image of Sweden was constrained by stereotypes of uniformity, decided to turn over the nation’s official Twitter account, @Sweden, to a new and different Swede each week for uncensored expression of their individual Swedishness. Their gamble that the Swedish “brand” would be enhanced on the world stage through an increasing appreciation for Sweden’s hidden diversity seems to have been a winning strategy, as the @Sweden account has increased its followers dramatically in the subsequent months.
More significantly, however, not only has @Sweden garnered more followers, it has spawned numerous similar projects around the globe. January of 2012 saw the advent of @PeopleofLeeds, @WeAreAustralia, @TweetWeekUSA, @CuratorsMexico, and @BasquesAbroad. In the following months this movement has grown to 33 some projects, representing the people of cities (Bristol, Munich, London, New York, Södermalm [a neighborhood of Stockholm, actually], Harrogate), counties (Northumberland), countries (UK, Ireland, Ukraine, New Zealand, France, Austria, Fiji, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Philippines, and [all the countries of] the Earth), cultural groups (indigenous Australians, LGBTQ), commonality groups (Fairfax County bus riders, Forsbergs Skola students and faculty, Financial Times writers, Livemint writers, Olympic torch viewers), and issues (climate change).
Each of these projects is characterized by the weekly rotation of its active tweeter, or curator (except @0lympicTorch, which has a daily rotation for 70 days).
What this means is that while Twitter began as a medium for individuals to share their experience with other individuals, it has now evolved into a medium for communities to share their experience with the entire world. Moreover, and reciprocally, it has become a global offering for individuals to dynamically participate in the real-time life experience of communities they find of particular interest.
This evolution of Twitter elevates it from the commonly understood stage of social media to a new — with vast potential — plane of cultural networking.
This could not have happened without the real-time dynamism of Twitter and Rotation Curation.
Twitter suspended the account of @IAm_Pakistan (the Rotation Curation project for Pakistan) for no apparent reason and with no explanation. Please click and retweet this tweet to help trend the hashtag #unsuspendIAmPakistan. Thank you!