5 Topics You Thought Were Too Serious For Twitter…But Aren't

People have criticized Twitter in the past for only skimming the surface of important topics, asking how a 140 character message could convey anything meaningful. There is also the theory that anything social media related is purely social, a new way of communicating that is basically just social procrastination. But the above criticisms aren’t valid anymore, especially with the new Twitter — here are 5 topics to prove it.

1. Veteran’s Day and Veteran Appreciation. Serving one’s country is not only a time-honored tradition, but a solemn one. Especially with recent controversial engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, military service can be a tricky conversation topic to navigate. Regardless, every Novemer 11, the U.S. celebrates Veteran’s Day in honor of its soldiers, and the conventional outpourings of support — flowers on graves, flag ceremonies, etc. — are now replicated on Twitter. The Veteran’s Day page is a top trending topic today, and the power of Twitter is apparent: the ability to compile earnest, to-the-point messages from people and organizations around the world in one place. This message from PBSParents is just one example of a touching tweet: “When you see a serviceman/woman, say ‘thank you.’ And if your kids are w/ you, tell them why you did it. #veteransday.”

2. Leo Tolstoy…and other heavy novelists. One of the greatest novelists of all time, this prolific Russian writer gave us, among others, the timeless tomes of Anna Karenina and War and Peace. His novels are dense, long, and intensely spiritual and insightful about human nature. But just because his novels make tweets look like flimsy, fleeting messages doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t have the power to tackle Tolstoy. A bunch of Twitter users have established themselves as literary enthusiasts. Check out @LeoTolstoy for a daily Tolstoy quote, or @TolstoyKarenina for a mix of Tolstoy quotes, Tolstoy appreciation, and literary news. Far from being too light for Tolstoy, Twitter lets the world relive his 19th century works (and those of other authors!) through live tweets.

3. Cancer. Cancer research is a huge topic of activism, and Twitter has done an excellent job of rallying support for the disease in recent years. Particularly with breast cancer awareness in October, tweets have dished out links to information about the disease and support groups for survivors and their families.

4. The Death of the Media. You might think it’s a little too…close to home for Twitter to be a forum about why newspapers, magazines, and traditional media might be in decline. And of course, every tweet about this topic shifts attention from newspapers and magazines onto Twitter. But since Twitter users are just plain interested in media in the first place, Twitter has been a great place for the conversation about news and publishing to rev up. Follow active accounts like @publishingtalk for the latest industry news.

5. The Recession. Nobody wants to talk about it, but most people can’t help themselves. The recession has hit individuals, businesses, and families hard in the last couple of years. Twitter doesn’t just regurgitate all of the news information about the economy, job losses, and the stock market indexes, but actually provides a place for people to commiserate, share money-saving tips, and express hope for the future. @savemore, for instance, gives frequent tips for stretching your dollars — like the recent, timely tweet about holiday gift spending.

Twitter doesn’t replace person-to-person conversations about these topics, but what social media outlet does? There is still enough of a human connection on Twitter, especially with its enormous growth and redesign, to foster the activism and discussion that serious topics deserve.