“Dad, what is twitter?” a seemingly small question. Coming from my 10 year old son. And then began the most fascinating conversation that we ever had till date. It was a huge challenge. Initially I told him that I needed a day to get back to him so that I could gather information and wit to answer him. Then the fun began! I started out and searched youtube, google, everywhere! Then I dug into my english skills and convincing abilities. I wrote, re-wrote and thought and re-thought. And then I told myself that I am ready, then we sat down. Here is how it went
Son: So what is twitter?
Me: It is like this big party where a lot of people come in. Some say something, some do something, others follow and listen
Son: Sounds like a crowded place
Me: Yes it is, millions of people there and they keep coming and going as they please
Son: So what do you talk about?
Me: Anything under the sun, some people share jokes, some people share knowledge, some people just listen and gather information
Son: That sounds like my class at school
Me: Yeah, sort of. If we really like what someone shares, we repeat it to our followers and that is called a retweet. When I retweet somebody, even those who don’t know him/her but know only me get to know what he/she said
Me: There are people who share links. These are pointing to other places with more information.
Son: Like we share the shelf numbers of interesting books in the library?
Me: Exactly like that!
Son: Who are the popular people there?
Me: There are people who are already popular and they get on twitter to expand it. There are also ordinary people like me, who become popular because they share good information consistently.
Son: How do you know you are popular?
Me: By counting the number of followers I have and the number of retweets and mentions I get. Then there are sites like Klout and Peerindex that will measure this and rank me.
Son: Like grades in my class!
Me: Yep! Exactly!
Son: What do you do with irritating people there?
Me: We block them and move on.
Son: So twitter is just like school/class and the only difference is that there are more grown ups there! Right?
Me: That is one way to look at it! Yes!
And thus ended that nice conversation. Like it?