Friday, March 23, 2012

Twitter and the Greater Community

Tweeting bird, derived from the initial 't' of...Tweeting bird, derived from the initial 't' of Twitter Deutsch: Twitschervogel, entwickelt aus dem Anfangs-'t' von Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Over the last week, I went to a bookstore where an internationally known author was reading from her latest book. As people were sitting down, we all started talking with one another. We were gathering together to share an experience, to connect with one another over our shared love for this author and books in general. I looked over the crowd and there were a handful of people with their heads down tapping quickly into their phones. I followed suit. The woman behind me said to her friend, "I wish I could Tweet."  Now I thought this was very funny on many levels - she was not saying she didn't have the ability or the means although both of those could be true. She may not even own a mobile phone. What she was expressing was that she was really excited to be where she was and she wanted to be able to share that with a broader community - with as many people as possible. The popularity of Twitter, microblogging, and texting isn't in the inanity of knowing who is eating pizza where, but in our connection to that greater community. This is not to say that knowing when someone is eating pizza is really inane. I have found by reading tweets from people I know and work with, I begin to get an unconscious sense of their life's patterns. I will sometimes catch myself knowing I had better call an associate at 3:30 because they always head out to the gym at 4:00. The company celebrated their sixth birthday on March 21st. Like most 6 year olds, it is still finding its legs and learning how to read. Twitter has certainly become part of the digital public square when to "Tweet" can also mean "I wish I could tell the whole world I am here."

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