A revelation about social media’s role in everyday lives

A recent online encounter took me by some surprise. Since I have over emphasized in my last post about grad students having no money, a newspaper subscription that sets one back by $ 20 -30 a month is out of question. For the uninitiated, Chicago Tribune is 75 cents on weekdays and a whopping 2 bucks on Sundays. I think even annual subscriptions cost $150 -$200. Despite these costs, a few loyalists in my building do get the paper delivered, and I occasionally steal a glance at headlines.
One such story 3-4 days ago was about Twitter which I wanted to read. Earlier today, I decided to find it on the Tribune Website and keyed in ‘twitter’ in the search box with the optimism that I will find it among the first few search results. After all, how much would have been written about twitter in a general news daily in the last 4 days.

But I found 281 results and the article I was looking for was nowhere on the first couple of pages. Twitter was an integral component of many news stories apart from the obvious media/technology stories to those ranging from news about airline industry to Hollywood celebrities and social trends . All the three stories I have linked have appeared on the same day (October 12,2009) and this is not inclusive of all stories in today’s Tribune that talk about twitter. And this is just twitter, if I keyed in facebook, digg and other similar services, I may find many more stories where these websites are characters that have important roles to play.
While a lot is being written about social media per se, but a lot that is being written about real people and their interactions using social media, suggests that these services are surely out of discussion forums of tech/media enthusiasts and have become part of the mainstream.

Interestingly the article I was looking for was about twitter’s plans to monetize its website. If you are convinced that the service has phenomenal potential, you may just want to read it here !