March 13, 2011
Ignornance and Twitter Users: Pearl Harbour Tweets during the Japanese Earthquake disaster

It’s disappointing although not surprising that Pearl Harbour would be a trending topic on twitter.  A good portion of twitter users try to one up each other with crude comments in an attempt to be re-tweeted and get their 15 minutes of fame.

I’ll spare a long rant about how a lot of the twitter users attempting to be witty using Pearl Harbour tweets are probably are not aware about the history of Pearl Harbour at all.  Namely, the naval blockade attempts by the United States in order to starve off the Japanese Empire.  Or the fact that FDR and the higher-ups were all well aware of the attack in advance and instigated a conflict with Japan as a justification for entering World War II (the prospect of war faced significant domestic opposition at the time).

The reference to Pearl Harbour essentially boils down to this.  A large portion of twitter users only care about the viral nature of twitter only with regards to self promotion and temporary impressions of fame.  Whether the message is astute or comically ignorant is of no concern, the only thing that matters to a lot of users is the possibility of being retweeted.  This tells us a lot about twitter and its potential for spreading messages. 

Namely, one of the most important goals of any twitter marketing scheme should allow users to incorporate their own messages (one liners) in conjunction with a short url and hashtag.  Engagement is motivated not by message at all for many people, but by the opportunity to have a voice be heard.  It is the voyeuristic thrill of being acknowledged which is the primary motivational factor for most people in the twitterverse.  Any attempt to spread a message which doesn’t give twitter users an opportunity to engage will be significantly less successful.  The common hashtag or shorturl is merely a vehicle for users to obtain their fame.

Proof of this exists by the fact that so many people are willing to destroy their reputations (through public tweets) out of a vain attempt to be temporarily famous.