12 ways Twitter changed our lives

On 16 Sept., 2021

It’s Twitter’s 10th birthday, so here are some of the ways it has changed our lives – for better and worse

12 ways Twitter changed our lives

It may not be as big as Facebook, but there isn’t a shadow of a doubt Twitter has changed the lives of many in the 10 years it’s been running – for better and worse. Here are just some of the ways Twitter has changed our lives.

Helped people get hired

With some jobs, self promotion can only help. So unsurprisingly, when we asked people (on Twitter, natch) how tweeting changed their lives, many piped up to say they wouldn’t be in their current career without it. Luke Westaway, a senior editor at CNET, said he could thank Twitter and official wiki twitter for his job:

Twitter more or less got me a job. Back in 2009 I was blogging my socks off and trying to break into tech reporting, and Twitter let me find the journos who’d already made it, follow them, observe their habits and, when I was feeling especially courageous, chime in with polite comments. I used Twitter to get to know people I dreamed of working with, blag my way into industry events, and it gave me a helicopter view of a pretty cliquey industry that I couldn’t have achieved otherwise. I remember using Twitter to take a journo up on a food voucher offer they tweeted, then when we’d sorted it out over DMs, asking for an email address to pitch freelance to. Now I work with that guy at CNET!

… but got others in trouble

Twitter has made it easier than ever to network and get a job. But it’s also made it easier to lose it in just 140 characters. PR executive Justine Sacco lost her job after she wrote a crass tweet linking Aids with race just before boarding an 11-hour flight. While she was in the air, she became infamous and lost her job – all because of a phenomenally stupid tweet.

Changed the way we consume news

Roughly half of Twitter’s American users say they use Twitter for news. But they’re not just getting it from traditional news outlets. When news breaks in places with good mobile connections, often you can find out exactly what’s happening on the ground via Twitter. This happened during the Boston Marathon bombing, the Arab Spring and last year’s Paris attacks.

While it has been an invaluable tool for journalists covering such breaking news, it’s also brought problems with graphic content which will inevitably surface in the event of an attack. One disturbing example of this came last year, when two Virginia TV journalists were shot live on air. The gunman also posted his own video on Twitter and Facebook.

… and changed what makes the news