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BOB’S BLOG: Who are Twitter’s Movers and Shakers?

By Bob Wood
September 27, 2013 - 2205 comments

Most of you will be aware of Twitter.

For those who are not, Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service. It allows you to send messages of no more than 140 characters. That works out to about two short sentences to get your message across.

Twitter is everywhere these days or so it seems to me.

‎For example, recently I was working my way through a Muskoka newspaper when I discovered a column of tweets.

The column was a summary of “this week’s top tweets from local movers and shakers.” It is apparently a regular feature in the Metroland paper Weekender.

The tweets in themselves were primarily of local interest. Included were reminders to register for Muskoka Pride (from@muskokapride), greetings from @MayorMurphy wishing students all the best on the day after Labour Day and a post from @brittney_coggs noting that summer was over, meaning it is almost hockey season. “#GoLeafsGo,” she hashtagged.*

On reading through these tweets, I felt some uneasiness. Although I spend much time (some say too much time) in the twitterverse, I couldn’t think who would be on my personal Movers and Shakers list. What if something like #twittermoversandshakers started trending? ** I’d be rendered tweetless.

So some serious thought was needed. Who in the world could come up with 140 characters of inspiration to start my day, cheer me up when the going got tough or teach me something?

Of course, I took to Twitter for help.

I started with the guy who has to be Twitter Mover and Shaker Numero Uno. @BarackObama, master of social media, was looking for assistance from his 36-million followers to move the ObamaCare program forward.

Meanwhile Calgary-born Canada-denier Ted Cruz (@tedcruz), who at best could be described as a wannabe mover and shaker, has a different view:

"Will you give $25 now to help build a grassroots tsunami to #DefundObamacare before implementation begins in 25 days? http://do.nr/asc."

A grassroots tsunami isn’t quite what I was looking for. Perhaps I should stick to Canadian movers and shakers in the world of politics.

North of the border we find @pmharper spending a “great afternoon watching an Ottawa Gee Gee game.” Looks like he has time for both tweeting (or is it twerking*) and the gridiron now that hockey book is finished.

In a similar spirit our premier, Kathleen Wynne, was looking ahead (as all great leaders should):“One week until the International Plowing Match in Perth County – hope to see you there,” she enthused.

Meanwhile, @TOMayorFord, always the policy wonk, reported that “Toronto and Ontario are now ready to build transit.” Details were attached for those who were doubtful, I suppose.

All of this, while arguably interesting, isn’t really what you’d call helpful advice.

What about celebrities? What can they tell me? Just hours after her U.S. Open triumph, @serenawilliams thanked all 3.9-million followers, including me, for their support:

“I love you all. Room service and now bed...”

Margaret Atwood is a major-league tweeter. Her posts detail what she is up to, assist people in plugging good causes and often make me laugh, as this one did: 

"@Margaret AtwoodEnjoying @CarlHiaasen's  Bad Monkey in advance of our talk at @nyplon Sept. 17. Shall I ask him for a roadkill recipe? Bad taste? @AAKnopf"

Dr. Phil must be a mover/shaker. He has nearly 1.2-million followers. @DrPhil advises that “a phenomenal family is one in which each member is a star in his or her own right.” Something to think about for sure but my star is shining a little less brightly today as I’ve forgotten to pick up that part we need to fix that annoying floor cleaner. 

Am I expecting too much from Twitter? Perhaps inspiration, advice and insights can best be found elsewhere. It could be that comics’ working out their routines is the best you can hope for.

In that vein I’ll close with @Will_Ferrell:

"Sometimes I'll think, 'How sad for Canada that Bryan Adams is their Springsteen,' but then I remember I don't have health insurance."

END

* The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

** According to Twitter, “Trends are determined by an algorithm. (that) identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help you discover the hottest emerging topics of discussion on Twitter that matter most to you.”

*** Our Prime Minister is a little confused about what he is doing when he uses twitter. Is he tweeting or twerking? See http://thelapine.ca/harper-says-he-twerks-occasionally-thinks-it-means-tweeting/  This is a satirical site, to be clear. 

Bob Wood is a housing and poverty advocate and former two-term Burlington City Councillor who has built a bed-and-breakfast with his wife on Lake Erie. 

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