Two cultural tour de forces have come together, in a move that heralds big changes for both. Alongside company founder Jack Dorsey, Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the official opening of Twitter’s Manhattan-based headquarters. Outside of Hollywood, NYC is the city of artistic expression and, in the words of Dorsey, has “more Twitter users than any other city in the world.” Not that Twitter’s numbers are insignificant. It has 300 million people worldwide who Tweet and ReTweet, and a diverse roster of opinions ranging from serious and philanthropic to hilarious and tragic. As of the census results posted on March 24th, New York City has 8,175,133 citizens. This match is mutually advantageous, and marks a turning point for the social networking community.
If the world of online media and new technology were to pick and choose cities to represent them, New York is a choice sure to top the list. Although there are many, amazing cities that all offer different benefits, it would be hard to find a more suitable pairing. With their image of tech-savvy worker bees buzzing around the hive industry, City residents capture the driving, fast energy that is Twitter. And while Silicon Valley it is not, this partnership better emulates our world now. A city that is vibrant and incredibly alive, with “the largest number of developers in the country outside California,” it is perfectly poised to help propel Twitter into even more of a household name. Twitter thrives on a succinct, staccato type of communication that is not unlike the heartbeat of the city itself. And Twitter has their finger on the pulse, with 40 full-time workers (but room for 100) and a Madison Avenue location.
Although Twitter and New York City are more than enough to comprise several articles, comparison with Facebook is inevitable. One is more of a cultural behemoth, but I’d argue that Twitter’s streamlined yet appealing design will eventually start to appeal more to the public. As someone with accounts on both sites, along with a myriad of others, I often grow frustrated with the never-ending, almost obsessive need to change and adapt the site. Ostensibly, it is supposed to enhance my experience, but there are times when I definitely miss the old Facebook.
And I’m not alone in my generation. According to a 2011 marketing trends report, Facebook has the largest division of older users with 37 percent being 45 years or older. However, those aged 25-44 only made up 46 percent of their total demographic, compared to 57 percent for Twitter. Although LinkedIn and Tumblr and many other websites also cultivate a generous following, they’re still mainly in the virtual world. With this morning’s matchup of New York City and Twitter, it’s safe to say that the latter is decidedly not.
Maybe one reason Twitter has such great prospects is the transparency. With other websites like Facebook, many people have to be “friended” or only get limited access to another person’s profile. With Twitter, you just subscribe to whatever catches your fancy and it’s a done deal. Alongside the careless celebrity atmosphere of New York City, this strikes the perfect chord of attainable vs. unattainable. Twitter has that touch of the real, a sense that the words of the famous are not edited down and trimmed by countless publicists or behind-the-scenes voices.
Both New York City and Twitter have notable celebrity communities that share unprecedented insight into their “real” lives. Both represent the glossy, glittering elite that people follow in countless magazines and websites, hungry for a new scoop. And yet both also have grounded and realistic personas, with such a heterogeneous mix of people. NYC and Twitter have the appeal of average Joes rubbing elbows with the crème de la crème.
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