'Tweeting' Not Just for Twits

Tweeting? Is it for the birds? Well, to be completely honest, when I first heard about Twitter last year, I was completely clueless about the point of having a Twitter account. Soon after that, it all of a sudden became cool to Twitter. All of my favorite magazines had ads stating "follow us on Twitter," to celebrities on TV and radio talking about how they are obsessed with tweeting and talking to their fans. So I gave in and jumped on the "Tweeting" bandwagon and I'm completely fascinated by Twitter right now in much the same way I was by my sidekick four years ago, and by AIM years before that.

I do follow my favorite celebrities, magazines, and people in the fashion industry along with my friends, but even then I sometimes feel like there's too many tweets to keep up with so I "un-follow" people who tweet too much unnecessary information! Especially "RT" which is re-tweeting what someone already "tweeted." It just becomes too much at that point.

For those who haven't checked it out, and are wondering what in the world is Twitter, I'll explain. It's a little like text messaging, very brief, near instant messages and faster than e-mail. At 140 characters per message, tweets are even shorter than texts. There's no full information or ‘about me' page, but you can have a picture, a link to your web site, and a one-sentence biography. Its very simple website that seems to always have lagging problems. If you have a smart phone there's probably a Twitter client application for it where you can stay up to date on your tweets all day!

Many different parodies have been created since Twitter's inception, including one on the site Slate.

"Now Slate has gotten in on the game with their bite-sized mockumentary about a company called Flutter that is one-upping Twitter by reducing their character count from 140 to 26. They are the leading and only company in the world of ‘nanoblogging,'" said Alex Leo of the Huffington Post.

Do we really need micro-updates of our friends and all the little things they do throughout their day when we already have Facebook or Myspace? Everyone already has a ton of interruptions in our already discontinuous and partially attentive connected worlds. Between all the emails, social networks, text messaging, and talking on the phone what is the need for tweeting when you already have a few ways with keeping in contact with friends?

Most people are on Twitter to follow their favorite celebrities, getting a peek into the glass window where they can glimpse at what these people do throughout the day or, better yet, a shout out or a reply to them! Twitter is breaking down barriers and allowing direct access to their fans to dispute rumors in the press and provide an insight into their lives. The downside is that some people now think they have a direct line to the famous and are in desperate need of that contact so they feel better about themselves. With most of them having 10,000 to over 500,000 followers fan's messages will either never get read and are even less likely to be replied to. On the other hand,anyone can create a cult of them on Twitter and be in constant conversation with every fan.

Like anything in today's world, Twitter can be misused. It's not supposed to take the place of extended dialogue. It's for short announcements, like posting a link you think friends would like, getting an opinion on something, telling a joke, updating people with what's going on in your life, or just checking in with people. I don't have time to chat with friends all day, or to write long emails or handwritten letters. With Twitter, I can post a brief comment and have a little social contact while I am working on other things. It's just another mode of expression for me, not the main one, but a fun one.