Saturday, March 14, 2009

It’s not just what a bird does

OK, let me start with an apology. It's not the next week. It's been much longer than I expected, but the world has gotten away from me.


So I've obviously been playing with this "new" bit of technology called Twitter. It's not really new. I first heard about twitter last year, I think, and it had been going for a while before that. I was told that Twitter was "a micro-blog" and that "you just type in what you're doing right now in 140 characters or less", and I thought "who would use that, and why would I want to know what you're doing?" Well, my mind has been expanded.


I got an email from a friend of mine from way back. His email was very short. "Tell me about Twitter, please. Thanks." Wow, what a lead in. Here's my response:


Twitter is an odd duck. It's a community of people who share their thoughts and what they're doing 140 characters at a time.

I guess one of the most famous Twitter users right now is John McCain, tweeting (that's what sending a 140 character message is called) about what's going on in the Senate. It's interesting to see the sarcastic side of John McCain. Earlier last week when he started tweeting the top 10 pork items in the bills being passed, he said this:
#5. $650,000 for beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi - how does one manage a beaver?
#2 $2 million "for promotion of astronomy" in Hawaii - because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy

You start out on Twitter by "Following" people. For me it felt a little like stalking. I searched for people I had emails for and followed them. Then I searched for famous and semi famous people and followed them. Then I looked at their followers, and followed a few of them. Some people follow you back so you can have 2-way conversations, some, like John McCain, only follow a few people, but basically broadcast their message to all their followers (Senator McCain currently has almost 159k followers and is following only 32 people).

Current estimates are about 2 to 7 million people around the world are using twitter. Early reports from the emergency landing in the Hudson River were from Twitter. Early insights into the president's address to congress were from twitter.

There are groups within Twitter that mark their comments with what are "hashtags" or #. One I use is Top Conservatives On Twitter or #TCOT. I just learned yesterday that there is a dictionary of hashtags, but I haven't found it yet. I'm still looking.

Twitter is a great tool for communicating, especially for people like me who don't do well in a face to face situation. It gives me just enough anonymity to feel comfortable.

Twitter's great. Join up. HTTP://


Well, since that time, I've done a little digging. The dictionary of hashtags is at (what a surprise). I've also become very much a twitterholic. It's amazing to me that this application, this piece of technology that I was so unsure of, has become a part of my daily life so quickly. I have friends all over the world: Poland, England, Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, India, and many more places I'm sure (including the US!). What's funny to me is that I actually communicate with these people. People I've never met (for an introvert like me, that's odd).


Twitter can become an amazing tool, or it could devolve into a useless toy and a waste of time. For now, I choose to believe it will be an amazing tool to move the world forward into becoming a smaller, more closely knit community of people. Like I said in my email to my friend, Twitter is great. Join up. When you do, follow me. I'd love to chat with you.


Anonymous said...

Just read this post. It's great. Nice to meet another twittering church of Christ introvert. :)

I'm actually a church planter and quite the introvert. That's a God thing. I suggested to one of our friends about talking to a girl in his college class about our pizza an prayer night we have each Wednesday. He looked scared and said, "I can't do that, I'm not like you."

I was shocked. He said he wished he could be like me when it came to talking to people (strangers, etc.)

I guess I am a social person, but it is not my element. I hate being trapped in the house and not around people, but I somehow crave relationships (face to face). I understand that's how God made each of us. I think that's why God helped people create Twitter. It was a way for people to be social that are introverted because God knows people need relationships.

That certainly too much info, huh?

Talk later,
@ beethomas