Ad hoc innovation by users of social networks: The case of Twitter

Innovation Social networks Information technology Australia

A study on the social networking platform, 'Twitter', its operations, its impact on daily life and how users have shaped it. Generic, flexible social media spaces such as Facebook and Twitter constitute an increasingly important element in our overall media repertoires. They provide a technological basis for instant and world-wide, ad hoc, many-to-many communication, and their effect on global communication patterns has already been highlighted. The short-messaging platform Twitter, for example, caters for uses ranging from interpersonal and quasi-private phatic exchanges to ‘ambient journalism’: ad hoc new reporting and dissemination as major events break. Many such uses have themselves emerged through user-driven processes: even standard Twitter conventions such as the @reply (to publicly address a fellow user) or the #hashtag (to collect related messages in an easily accessible space) are user inventions, in fact, and were incorporated into Twitter’s own infrastructure only subsequently. This demonstrates the substantial potential of social, user-led innovation in social media spaces.  

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