New “Activity” on TwitterPosted: November 10, 2011
The activity element is accessible through the tab at the top of the Twitter timeline, and it is also featured on the right-hand side listed under trends and who to follow. This new activity facet allows you to see the favorites, follows, retweets and more by the people you’re following. Now that the activity tab contains all this real-time active information, Twitter has changed and condensed your ability to view your own tweets that were retweeted and @ mentions into one tab under your account name (before, there were two separate tabs for retweets and @ mentions). While I don’t mind the structure changing to condense all the things that are pertinent to your account into one place, I really can’t stand their new activity aspect. I think it coincides with the desire of SNS, like Facebook, to be more public and pervasive. Recently, Facebook has added a real-time activity feed onto the side of its main page, showcasing every comment, “like,” tagged photo, post, recent friends etc. that your friends make while you are accessing the site. While Twitter already has a real-time Twitter feed, it has never included any additional information of those you are following except for their tweets. More importantly, every move you now make (i.e. what posts you favorite, who you choose to follow, what you retweet, etc.) is showcased to the people who follow your account.
This definitely represents the more public shift that social networking sites are moving towards. The current settings that SNS are implementing make already publicly available information/activity into being even more public without the consent of its users. This basically demonstrates the concept of data mining, which is the tracking of online activities. The things you now do based on the structure of SNS sites like Facebook and Twitter are tracked and presented to others on those sites. This also brings in the concept of reputation management, which entails that we can actively manage what we do online, because Twitter has moved toward a direction where our control of online privacy seems to be dissipating. I personally find seeing everyone’s activity annoying, and I similarly don’t want my activity to be showcased to my followers. It’s disappointing because I’ve liked how Twitter never publicly included activity information like Facebook does, but now it seems to slowly be moving down that path.