Oprah Winfrey first tweeted in 2009. Barack Obama sent his first tweet in 2010. So did Conan O’Brien and the Dalai Lama and Bill Gates. Pope Benedict XVI sent his first tweet in 2011. Prince, Kobe Bryant, and Justin Bieber’s cat all started tweeting in 2013.
Which, I hope, signifies an end to an era of media coverage: A day when we can finally admit that pretty much every public figure worth her crumpets is on social media, and that someone being active in the Twitterverse is no more surprising than someone hiring a public relations person.
According to Pew Research, 74% of online adults use social media and 19% use Twitter. Being active on social media is far from an exceptional behavior.
Early on, some first tweets signified the growing power of Twitter or, as was the case when Mark Zuckerberg started tweeting in 2009, the possibility of an acquisition. They were meaningful. But since then the number of ways to make the best of a “someone sent a Tweet” story has dwindled:
- Question the tweet’s true authorship.
- Present the tweet as the next chapter of its author’s history of early adoption.
- List some tweets reacting to the tweet.
- Write an explanation of why first-tweet stories aren’t news.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The thing about articles that have no news value whatsoever is that, if you stop clicking on them, news outlets will stop writing them. You can make a difference! Let’s make this the last celebrity Twitter story you ever read.