Friday, March 05, 2010

Twitter's 10 billionth Tweet is profound

I understand that people waited and waited to see what profound lesson Twitter's 10 billionth Tweet would impart on the online world. Apparently there was supposed to be some kind of lesson to be learned from the thing. Many were disappointed to discover that the 10 billionth Tweet was not as exciting as they had hoped, many I assume were perplexed and bewildered by it. I think it was one of the most profound statements we have had on the Internet in a very long time. So, what did it say? - that not everything needs to be public.

Yup, and it does so in the most zen of ways by having been Tweeted from a private account that was blocked from public view.

What I think we can all learn from this is that while the Internet is such an easy place to share everything, not everything needs to be shared. This is further exemplified by the law professor that started a class the other day by announcing a secret to the students that Chief Justice John Roberts would be retiring.

Within minutes of Professor Peter Tague having announced in his criminal law class that he had a secret that none of his students were to tell anyone else - the rumor of Chief Justice John Roberts pending retirement was out of the room and spreading in a viral manner across the Internet. Even, I hear, making it to national news.

And thirty minutes after he opened his lesson on the validity of informants with the false rumor, Professor Tague exposed it for what it was. A complete fabrication that had no basis in reality. The rumor was already loose, however, and spreading fast outside the classroom.

My perspective on the false rumor? I love it! I hope that Professor Tague uses that same technique with every class he teaches, because even if it did cause some confusion for the mainstream media it taught an invaluable lesson not only to his students - who will remember it throughout their careers - but to the media in seeking confirmation from reliable sources before they spread rumors just to get the scoop on a story.

And how do you find out the Tweet count anyway? Well, I discovered that if you go to the Public timeline and hover over the gray "half a minute ago" etc announcement on when the Tweets were posted, then you can see the count at the end. As of my writing this Twitter is already past 10,061,000,000 tweets and counting