The Impact of Twitter on Society with Biz Stone

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About This Episode

Explore social media’s impact on society, celebrity and science when Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone. Biz tells Neil about Twitter’s beginnings, the exact moment he knew it was going to take off, why he never expected celebrities to tweet, and what his favorite Twitter account is. (FYI, it’s not @neiltyson or @billnye.) In studio, Neil is joined by Eugene Mirman, sociologist Dr. Alondra Nelson, and journalist Clive Thompson. You’ll learn how social media has changed the way we get news and interact with each other, from flocking and flash mobs, to changing the definition of friend, to allowing communication across traditional gaps in power and status. Compare Twitter’s impact on the Arab Spring to the role TV played in the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and learn why Biz downplays Twitter’s importance in the uprisings. Plus, find out what’s up with all the college dropouts who are Silicon Valley success stories like Biz, Steve, Bill, and Mark, and hear why Bill Nye “likes” the social media revolution.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Impact of Twitter on Society with Biz Stone.

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  • Taxil Necrobane

    This whole episode was showing off many of the positive points of twitter. There are down sides to twitter as well I wish they spoke about. For one thing, the Arab Spring was fueled by twitter, but it was not a good thing. As you can see the results of both the Arab Spring and the Green revolution in Iran ended in complete failure resulting in the whole region to become even more dangerous, unstable and war torn.

    Twitter as also been used to start off the overwhelming, looting and pillaging of stores in flash mobs. Among other criminal usage, thieves can follow a person by their twitter account (and/or Facebook as well) and by that, know where you are going to be at or not. Home break ins is a common result.

    A 140 cap isn’t all that great. Being pity and concise is great. However there are many times you need to say more and can’t do that on a tweet. Being able to reach out and talk to the masses is great. But I see the other side of this as another way to train people to not be concerned of their loss of privacy and why it’s important to keep things to yourself. People often say dumb or worse things in their life they later regrete saying. Now people can tweet those same dumb, hateful and worse things and they will NEVER GO AWAY where EVERYONE can see it forever! I have seen people’s whole work life and privet life ruined by a tweet. Twitter is impressive, but it is a two edged sword. It’s a pity most people don’t realize that until it’s too late.

    Lastly.. Mr. Tyson, seriously, some of your tweets sounds like this guy.

    • Ritchie

      I am not sure how you could make the claim that, even if you consider both the “Arab Spring” and “Green revolution” as failures simply because they did not have your desired outcome, these are negative points about twitter. The loss of privacy is also an issue related to how data is stored and monitored, not one about solely twitter itself. I am not intent on defending twitter as a company, but I am unsure how any of the things you are stating are a result of twitter specifically.

      • Taxil Necrobane

        There are many other internet based systems that also fuel the problems there (like facebook), but Twitter tends to be a leading factor. The goal of the Arab Spring and the Green Revolution was to bring more representative government and general freedom to the middle east. It Failed in that goal and worse, the new tyrants can now trace to whom those tweets that pushed the revolution and punish/kill those people. Either twitter failed to protect the user’s data, or they caved in and handed it over willingly. We may never know how many people have been vanished due to that.

        Also, the loss of privacy isn’t just the NSA getting open access to everything twitter has. It’s the mindset that leads to people to tall the world everything about them all the time. People these days are losing their sense of privacy. Sure, that kitty is cute. Yea, you might have gotten a great sandwich for lunch. Myself and everyone else really don’t care about it so please keep it your self. Twitter doesn’t help this situation.

  • wayne

    startalk radio is going down the pan good luck

  • JustinLG

    When is there going to be an episode about space again?

  • Cedric

    Gosh I could not even listen to this whole episode. Came here to listen to science related topics and now I have to listen to a podcast about the evolution of twitter. Erggg….let’s get it together startalk

  • Bonzini Solinkas

    Jumping the shark, are we?

  • Stacie

    Is the 140 character limit the same in every language? A tweet that’s 140 characters in English is gonna be like 280 characters in French. Never thought about this before but I don’t have a twitter account myself so I’m curious

  • DrE

    Felt like an advertisement for Twitter. I feel like no one really ever talks about how the success of Twitter lies in clever marketing besides that it is just a retarded version of Facebook. It’s like if Apple released a new computer that had no network interface so it were not possible to use the internet

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