Twitter has been getting a ton of press conference lately, thanks to Oprah and Ashton Kutcher; I find it a little ironic that Twitter needs mass media to elevate it to greater popularity, since so much of everything I’ve read so far flaunts social media as niche-driven and personal. Virginia Heffernan of The Medium (one of my two blogs) compares Twitter to the Emily Dickenson poem “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”: “How public — like a Frog — / To tell one’s name — the livelong June — / To an admiring Bog!”

Heffernan’s point is that many people still don’t use or view Twitter as anything more than an exchange of useless information; she calls these tweets “yawps”. She also takes an interesting stance: Twitter is for the poor, because the rich don’t care about these trivialities: “Anyone with a strong soul or a fat wallet turns his ringer off for good and cultivates private gardens that keep the hectic Web far away.” This is the first I’ve heard of the socioeconomic implications of social media and am intrigued by this idea.

However, I don’t agree with her on either count: while Twitter can just be used to describe mundane details of people’s lives, it is also a powerful vehicle to share information and ideas, and is a wonderful communication tool. Twitter has been a great way to stay in touch with friends in Boston and family in California, people whose lunch choices I genuinely care about. I’m not so sure about the poverty idea either: maybe if I was truly rich, I could just hop in my personal jet and fly to these exotic locations, but for now I enjoy hearing what my loved ones are doing. Also, if young people tend to catch on to technology faster than their parents, and young people tend to have lower incomes, Twitter users may be poorer just by logic. Twitter or not, the rich are just as connected: think of the CEO (or the current president) who is both wealthy and addicted to his Blackberry.

On the opposite end of the Twitter-embracing spectrum, Jeremiah Owyang’s Comprehensive FAQ Guide to Twitter , which I came across on Delicious (which has been a great resource), clears up some of these misconceptions. It answers all of the questions I was too afraid to ask and some that I didn’t even consider. In fact, all of the Web Strategy blog is helpful over a broad variety of social media topics.

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