Sunday, May 12, 2013

AS IT STANDS: Confessions of a 62-year old Tweeter: ‘I sang like a canary!’

 By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
  I started tweeting four months ago. Before that I spoke words. Started out with just a little tweet, “Hey! Take a look at my blog!” 
  Now, I’m going tweet! tweet! tweet! every day! And I’m not ashamed to say it’s my favorite way to get a message across in cyberspace. Forgive me for assuming you know I’m talking about Twitter. 
  It’s an online social networking and microblogging service for people who are in such a hurry they only have time to communicate a sentence before moving on to bigger and better things.
  The man who created Twitter, Jack Dorsey, launched his social network in July of 2006. The service gained worldwide popularity faster than the speed of light and by 2012 (most recent figures available) there were over 500 million registered Twitter users.

  And growing daily. Daily Twitterers tweet more than 340 million times a day. That’s a lot of chirps - oh, I’m sorry, Tweets - in cyberspace every 24 hours.

To make the process of tweeting more challenging, developers have decided we only get 140 characters (tweets) to get our message across.

Turning the clock back one year:
Me “Have you heard about that stupid thing everyone is talking about called Twitter?”
My wife: “Yes, I have dear.”
Me: “I can’t believe adults would actually have anything to do with a social service that calls itself Twitter. Sounds like a movie for teens or something.”
My wife: “It’s pretty popular. You have to like texting to really enjoy it.”
Me: “I hate texting! I’m so tired of seeing people drive and text..”
My wife: “Yes dear…calm down. We know how you feel.”
Me: “Well, I’m too serious a journalist to be messing around with something so silly.”
Turning the clock back four months:
Me: “I’ve been doing a lot of research on Twitter lately.”
My wife: “No way! I thought you said…”
Me: “Hold on dear. You know how I’m involved with Learnist, the social learning website? I was talking with some other expert contributors and they advised me to use Twitter. They assured me it would increase traffic to my blog - - and my learning boards at Learnist.”
My wife: “Does this mean what I think it does?”
Me: “I sang like a canary! Now, I’m the Big Bird of Tweets merrily sending out abbreviated messages with hashtags.”
My wife: “Hashtags? What are they?”
Me: “Oh, just a sweet tweet technical term dear. Did you hear that Warren Buffet tweets now?”
My wife: “If it’s okay for the Oracle of Omaha to tweet, then it’s okay for you!”
   I can’t help feeling guilty. I’m an old school journalist using social media. I should go down screaming and clawing for the printed word on paper, resisting the innovations that are replace it. Like Twitter, or Facebook.
   I broke away from my traditional bias five years ago when I started a blog and became a hybrid journalist, reporting things as I saw them. As you can see, I haven’t given up on newspapers you can hold and have your coffee with on a Sunday morning. 

July will mark five years of writing this column for The Times-Standard. My last traditional link to journalism. There’s no telling how long the management will let me continue to churn out columns for you. I suppose when I become a big enough pain they’ll urge me to move on to my social media and leave them alone.
   Meanwhile, did you know that Twitter’s origin resulted from daydreaming? True story. The original code name for the project was twttr. New York University undergraduate Dorsey introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS (short codes) service to communicate with a small group.
  Now for that great moment when the inventor introduces his creation to the world.
Remember what Alexander Graham Bell said?

  “Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you.”
   The historic moment for Jack Dorsey came on March 23, 2006 at 9:50 PST:
  “Just setting up my twttr.”

I know. Is that it? For something as earth-shattering to our world of communications, couldn’t he have said something like, “This is one small tweet for me and my investors, and a big tweet for social media and learning!”

As It Stands, my tweet ID is freefrogie59...don’t even ask! That’s another column!

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