I'm been using Twitter for about two months now. One reason is that more and more people are expecting faster news updates on their cellphones, iPods and computers. The other reason was to see what all this high-tech hype about "tweeting" was all about. My initial feelings as I began this experiment was that Twitter was little more than another outlet for the narcissists of the world to tell the rest of us what they were thinking, doing or planning to do.
My initial skepticism was heightened by the fact that I was starting my experiment at the same time Twitter was praising actor Ashton Kutcher for achieving one million "followers" of his tweets. Not exactly the person that first comes to mind when I think of role models.
But, to my surprise, I'm now close to becoming a Twitter addict! Sure, the word "addict" has a negative connotation. But I suppose it all depends on what one's "addiction" is. An addiction to heroin? Obviously bad. An addiction to Twitter? At least for now, a socially acceptable phenomenon.
Once I signed up for Twitter and began searching for former employees and old friends, I was astounded by how far BEHIND the curve I already was! It's amazing to suddenly begin seeing those small bursts of messages from people I used to hang out with. It was then that I started to understand why the often non-sensical, self-absorbed unimportant messages that constitute Twitter is so popular. Think about it: When we're around friends, the bulk of what makes up a normal conversation is often non-sensical, self-absorbed and unimportant. At least, that describes the bulk of conversations I have among friends!
Short bursts of jibberish aside, we at WTAP are also realizing what a growing number of television stations have realized. Tweets are one more way to deliver actually IMPORTANT information to followers. It's even faster than posting information to a website, which can take five to 15 minutes - an eternity in the age of information.
My recommendation is to give Twitter a one-month trial. If you find it utterly boring, you obviously can dump it. But I suspect you'll come to realize that, if properly used, it can serve a useful purpose - as a legitimate source of information, entertainment and a way to stay in contact with old and current friends.
Here are some suggested tweeters to "follow". More are on the way:
WTAP Breaking News: http://twitter.com/wtapnews
WTAP Sports: http://twitter.com/WTAPSports
WTAP Assignment Editor Phillip Hickman: http://twitter.com/PhillipHickman1
WTAP Marietta Bureau Reporter Cathleen Moxley: http://twitter.com/moxley_wtap
WTAP News Director Bruce Layman: http://twitter.com/BruceLaymanWTAP
A.P. Donaghho, famous Parkersburg stoneware maker: http://twitter.com/Donaghho