Robert W. Lucky’s article titled “To Twitter or not to Twitter” discusses the dilemma that older internet users find themselves. Lucky (2010) seeks to share his dilemma on whether or not to join the social networking site. The main argument is that age is the key factor in determining the use of Twitter. Lucky (2010) targets a broad audience but has a bias for the older generation.
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The article appeals to his contemporaries since the discussion relates to issues they are struggling with, while the younger generation will find some historical value in it and a feel of the perspective the older generation has on their use of Twitter. The author succeeds in sharing his dilemma with his audience.
The article starts by defining Twitter and describing how it works, based on the author’s perspective. This part informs the sections of the audience who may not have interacted with Twitter, thereby putting them on the same page as the rest. The author then delineates between the younger and the older generation. He refers to the younger generation as “digital natives” (Lucky, 2010, p. 245). This means that they grew up with technology as part of their daily experience.
On the other hand, he refers to the older generation as “digital immigrants” who have adapted to the technological changes in the recent years (Lucky, 2010, p. 245). The author then goes on to share personal experiences with younger persons in meetings. He provides a narrative on how they affected his thinking. The paper concludes by questioning the relevance of Twitter to the older generation in rational terms, but leaves room for the audience to arrive at their own conclusions regarding the use of Twitter.
The article had two distinct strengths. The first one is that the author succeeds in communicating to a broad audience. The distinction between the digital natives and digital immigrants invites both age groups to the discussion. While the article relates the struggles of the digital immigrants, it gives stories that digital natives are familiar.
The use of technical terms comes with special care. At the introduction, there is a full description of what Twitter is, and how it works. Inside the body, there are descriptions for the terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant” (Lucky, 2010, p. 245). This makes the article informative for the older generation, while it makes it entertaining for the younger generation who may find it amusing that there is need to describe how Twitter works.
The second key strength of the article is that it succeeds in demonstrating the role of age in the use of Twitter. In the latter sections, the discussion on whether to use Twitter in a forthcoming industry meeting provides an interesting look at the purpose Twitter serves for the two generations. The digital natives use it for social networking while the older one seems to try to find a way to use it for professional applications.
The author does not see the point in someone posting on Twitter that they are now awake. It does not seem to add any value to the audience viewing that Tweet. However, the story of the authors’ acquaintance who says that after using Twitter for a week he felt “a sense of connectedness” illustrates the author point, which is that Twitter serves a social purpose (Lucky, 2010, p. 246).
In addition, the author demonstrates that there is a cultural dimension to technology since the digital natives are part of an online culture and find expression in it by “inhabiting multiple identities, living a culture of sharing and by peer collaboration” (Lucky, 2010, p. 245).
The effort to sustain the interest of a wide audience creates one of the fundamental flaws of the article. After the introductory sections, the author struggles to maintain a voice fitting for the entire audience.
The details of the author’s personal disagreement with a young conference speaker alienate digital natives. The speaker, as a representative of the digital natives in the context of the article, comes off as preposterous when he calls the digital immigrants, “pencil pushers” (Lucky, 2010, p. 246). The author also makes the young speaker who tweets every morning appear petty.
These sections have the potential of alienating the younger sections of the author’s audience. While the author makes a good point of showing that, Twitter works differently for the different generations the choice of examples for the article paints younger users as irrational and implicates them in “pointless, incessant barking” (Lucky, 2010, p. 246).
This article is successful in bringing out the main point, which is that Twitter use varies on a generational level. The tone is not patronizing. This attracts both the young and the old readers to engage. Its reflective disposition and its undecided conclusion leave the readers thinking about how they use Twitter.
The author is successful in attracting the interest of a wide audience and in communicating the different ways that the generational divide influences the use of Twitter. The choice of illustrations though risks alienating the younger readers. In conclusion, the work is informative and stimulating.
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Lucky, R. W. (2010). To Twitter Or Not to Twitter? In L. G. Kirszner, & S. R. Mandell, The Blair Reader: Exploring Issues and Ideas (pp. 244-246). Canada: Pearson Education.