Micro-blogging, the Internet’s newest craze, doesn’t leave everyone a-Twitter

By Daniel Temple

 

            11/21/08- It seems these days we just can’t get things fast enough.  Five minutes for fast food?  Too slow.  Six minutes to write an email? Gotta be faster than that.  Seven minutes to connect to the web and read the news? Pshh, please. 

            That’s where micro-blogging and Twitter come into the picture.  Founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Twitter is a free social-networking service that allows users to micro-blog up to 140 characters. 

            It would seem that Twitter is a great resource for news on the go.  People can instantly “tweet” and respond to others all across the world.  Information is now attainable in a matter of seconds, condensed down and filtered so that it contains only the 5 W’s: who, what, when where and why. 

            But is Twitter really worth all the hype?  I recently joined the Twitter network and I must say, I think it leaves a lot to be desired. 

              First off, the site makes it extremely difficult to connect to other people you already know.  You can search for people through your email but only if you use Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, MSN or Gmail.  There is a search option where you can look for  screen names, but it’s located at the bottom of the home page and there are no directions that would lead you to do this. 

            It also took me a while to figure out how to reply to people once I had begun to “follow” them.  It seems that the site could do with some organizing so that new users, especially those that aren’t tech proficient, can navigate around with ease. 

            It’s also the idea of micro-blogging that’s a bit worrisome.  While some Twitter updates are helpful and informational, it seems as if the majority of Twitter updates are pointless insights into the lives of people that have no influence whatsoever on the public sphere. 

            I can certainly see if there was a major event how something like Twitter could be useful, but if it’s just an ordinary day then I really could care less if Summerdaydreams- “Found a graduation dress and shoes!” or if Keshaun- “Really wants to go sledding, skiing or snowboarding.” 

            Unfortunately this seems to be a trend in our current society.  Just because everyone has the resources, doesn’t mean that they are able to do the job.  I’m sorry but I still view journalism as a field that requires years of study and practice.  You have to know how to process information and then relay that in a manner that is interesting, accessible and comprehensible. 

            I really don’t like this shift where we as a society are emphasizing the me in media.  I appreciate that people have things to say and want to be heard, that’s perfectly understandable.  But when actual news organizations with trained professionals are downsizing in part because people are turning to places like Twitter, then something is definitely wrong. 

            And if regular blogging wasn’t bad enough, Twitter uses the concept of micro-blogging, essentially limiting the user to 140 characters or less.  This is fine for weather updates or to perhaps break a story, but when people want to know what exactly is going on, 140 characters is just not going to do the trick.

            So maybe I like waiting 5 minutes for a couple of hamburgers.  Perhaps it’s better to spend some time drafting an email, or (god forbid) a hand written note.  And even though news blogs and micro-blogging becomes more and more popular everyday, I think I’ll just stick to my regular, staff written, edited, content driven, time consuming, average, every day news.  Sure beats reading Citywoof- Got a date tonight with a cutie. Delts hurt from shoulder.”  Wow, stop the presses on that one. 

           

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