The Twitter that binds mankind and the universe

April 24, 2009

The headline of this blog posting reveals the answer, but I’m going to ask the question anyway …

What do Ashton Kutcher, Oprah Winfrey, the Mount Redoubt volcano and the Thousand Oaks Police Department have in common?

Give up? They’ve all jumped on the techno-bandwagon known as Twittering.

Twitter, for the uninitiated, is another form of online social networking which allows users to log onto the Web and post immediate, short blurb phrases updating the curious to what they’re doing right at this very moment.

For instance, “I’m eating a sandwich.” Or, “Feeling lucky today.” Or, “On Cloud 9 because it’s payday.”

I had heard of Twitter before. Like MySpace, Facebook, and every other Web site of its ilk, it’s been around for a good amount of time. But it seems like just in the past week has everyone and their grandmother decided that Twitter is the best thing since sliced bread.

Not a day has gone by this week that I haven’t heard of somebody jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. Why now?

I could excuse celebrities like Kutcher or Oprah for their impulsive ways to try and stay hip and current in the public’s eye. But when local police departments join in, it makes me wonder.

Is T.O. looking to somehow better their law enforcement techniques through Twitter, or are they just looking for some Hollywood-style publicity, too?

This morning, T.O. Police “tweeted” a traffic update. According to a press release from them, the department used the site to announce their “Tip-A-Cop” program in correspondence with an incident at a local restaurant.

So, in this case, it could work for enacting justice across the land.

What I still don’t get is the increasing narcissism I see among the Internet community. Hell, even Mount Redoubt, an Alaskan volcano, has its own Twitter account, letting people know when it might erupt!

I can remember just a decade ago when the WWW was a nifty little tool nobody expected to change the way we connect. Speaking as an Internet enthusiast, it’s still too bad that it’s too often become a tool for short-attention-spanning, self-absorption.

Some colleagues of mine have predicted that while the Internet boom will still evolve, the allure of instant social networking will quiet down and level off to a mere tweet.

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