By Karl Terry: CNJ columnist
While I do whistle while I work, I haven’t begun to tweet.
Evidently tweeting is a new form of communication being applied by a new online software technology called Twitter, being used mostly through cell phones and other mobile devices.
The other day my wife saw something on a news report about it and asked what the heck Twitter was anyway. I offered a lame explanation, which she bought with a bit of caution because I’m known to make something up when she asks a question like that. Truth be told, I didn’t really know or care what Twitter was but the question sent me on a research mission anyway.
For those of you who are usually blissfully ignorant to the latest technology, Twitter is a new form of communication management limited to 140 characters or less per tweet. Each message or tweet posted answers the question, “What are you doing?”
OK, stop and think about it. That’s the first question we ask a friend or family member when we call them. Personally I have to have a little more purpose than that if I make a phone call but lots of people never get past that. I guess if it’s mostly babble we’re talking about that question is as good as any.
I don’t even text message because I can’t understand or tolerate that phonetic language they use that supposedly gets everything said in as few characters as possible. If I sent a text message, I would want to make sure it was grammatically correct and maybe even run it through spell check. If you’re busy composing fine literature it tends to gum up the experience a bit.
My coworkers all text, except for me and the one who refuses even to have a cell phone. Some of these people are older than me so it’s not just Old Fart syndrome that is keeping me from it. For goodness sake, even my mother text messages her friends and grandkids.
I refuse to let my day be interrupted endlessly by family text messaging (I’m consciously refusing to use the conjugated verbs texting or texted here) me to find out what I’m doing. For sure you’ll never see me driving down the highway with my cell phone up on the steering wheel tweeting to my friends about the covey of quail in the ditch. Or messaging someone at the same dinner table or in a theater, a practice pretty common now, which I think is pretty rude.
From my research on the subject I’ve found this new wave of communication does have some redeeming value I can understand, though.
Some enterprising reporters have been tweeting from the courtroom and other locations live, which gets news out immediately. A citizen on Twitter aboard one of the rescuing ferries was evidently the first on-scene after the plane went into the Hudson River recently. Politicians are using Twitter to send an unfiltered and unedited message to their constituents. This could get interesting considering the tendency of political sorts lately to stuff their foot in their mouth.
One story I read about Twitter made me stop and think a bit about my refusal to embrace the technology though. It compared Twitter to the CB (Citizen Band) radio craze of the 1970s. OK, I guess I was right in the middle of all of that and I might eventually have to reconsider.
Breaker, breaker 1-9, you got a copy? How’s my Tweet sounding out there tonight?
Karl Terry writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org