Twitter satisfying publics lust for yet another fad

First Posted: 4/10/2009

A wise man once said, About the time you think you have all the answers, they change the questions. Thats often the way it seems concerning the ever-evolving ways in which we keep track of each other.
Just when you think you are on the cutting edge with all the advances in communications technology, something new always comes along with clockwork expedience with which you then must become familiar.
It isnt enough that people in modern workplaces have had to master the Internet and its email and instant-messaging capabilities, not to mention the practice of text-messaging (or texting) using mobile telephones.
Now there is this new thing called Twitter. As someone who doesnt stay as abreast of such developments as much as he should, Ill admit the first thing that popped into my head when I heard the term Twitter was country music. I assumed that it was somehow a cross between Conway Twitty and Tex Ritter, two stars of yesteryear who are now twittering somewhere in the great beyond.
But a friend, after laughing uncontrollably for several minutes at my grossly incorrect assumption, pointed out to me that Twitter actually refers to a new way of interacting with others (as if we needed something else).
I was informed that Twitter is a method for people to stay connected with friends, family members and co-workers through the exchange of quick, short messages called tweets that let all these people know what youre doing at any given moment.
One problem I immediately identified with this new ability is that Im not sure I do anything at any given moment is all that interesting. And if it is, I dont think I want everyone else to know about it at the time.
I also was told, however, that Twitter is popular among the social networking crowd, users of such Web sites as Facebook or MySpace who feel compelled to post minute-my-minute updates of seemingly everything that occurs in their daily lives.
Tweets, therefore, are just another way to keep your circle of friends and others posted about such scintillating developments as the fact that you took the dog out for a walk or went to the store to buy laundry detergent.
I must admit that I just dont get it, but that being said, no one should assume that Im one of those who clings to old-fashioned ways of doing things. My philosophy is that new ways of doing things are quite fine as long as they are an improvement over the old methods. I dont like the idea of fads and gimmicks emerging just for the sake of having new fads and gimmicks.
Even after becoming thoroughly educated on the wonders of Twitter, Im convinced that the purpose of this phenomenon is not to be an improvement over emails and instant-messaging. On the other hand, it seems to be just one more new thing that some people use to make others feel left behind.
And even if a person did decide to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, chances are something else soon would emerge to leave him behind again. So there doesnt appear to be any way to win.
In the meantime, there apparently is no escape from this thing called Twitter. Just yesterday, I watched a news show on television where viewers were welcomed to send in questions in the form of tweets as well as emails.
Im not ashamed to say that if I had to prepare a short message expressing my opinion of the Twitter phenomenon, the word tweet would not be involved. But several bleeps, the sounds that are used on TV to cover up words of profanity, would definitely be there.
Tom Joyce is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1924.

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