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All a-Twitter

by Josephine Cusumano, Opinions Editor

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet.

Twitter is taking the world by storm.

We have all heard people tweeting about Twitter. As a person adept to the Web, I was a little skeptical of this new “phenomenon” that has been taking over Facebook and Myspace. So what was the big deal? I could not wrap my head around Twitter. Was it not creepy that everyone and possibly anyone could know what you were doing anytime of the day?

The New York Times calls Twitter "one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet." TIME Magazine says, "Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app," and Newsweek noted that "Suddenly, it seems as though all the world's a-twitter." Twitter is even ranked number 3 on the Top Social Networks according to BurrellesLuce.

The majority of my friends have been fans of this new “killer app,” always referring to the latest news they read via Twitter. “I’m following the New York Times,” or “I found out about so-and-so because I’m following i/the Signal.” It seemed like everyone I knew was following someone else. Everyone knew about the news, whereas I was always a search engine behind.

The first time I heard about Twitter was the Fall semester of 2008. While studying new emerging poet Joshua Beckman, some of my classmates stated that his collection of short lyrical poems Your Time Has Come had the “essence” of Twitter:

She thought there were too many poems—
now she's lonely
waiting to write one.

This got me thinking, is Twitter more than the mere question of “What are you doing?”

About a month ago I decided, for the sake of this article, to join Twitter. It was about time I got to the bottom of this web obsession. I typed in twitter into my GOOGLE search and up popped endless links relating to Twitter. Upon finding the home link, I entered into a foreign world of tweets and re-tweets.

Choose a username. Invite your friends. Add your phone. Write your one-line Bio. Location. Time. Email. More info URL. I felt like I was going through customs before I could board the flight that was non-stop to Twitter.

After I chose my design, uploaded a picture and entered in my password, I was ready. Yet, I was so lost in this new virtual world of “updates” and “followings.” My very first “tweet” was: finding my way around…

It took me days, even weeks to familiarize myself with the process of “following” someone, or what @ and RT meant. I soon began to realize that Twitter was not only a place where I could answer the question of “What are you doing,” but it was a great place to communicate with others, share recent news and even network. Tweets also didn’t have to be basic updates, but they could be lyrical ones like Joshua Beckman’s poems. So much could be done with this web application, no wonder why it was taking cyberspace by storm!

I’ll be the first to admit that I judged Twitter way too fast, and I can now say that I am a fan. I even “tweeted” via phone last weekend! Thinking back to a quote about Twitter by Eric Nuzum, Author of The Dead Travel Fast, I suddenly realized how true it was:

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it is one of those things, like MySpace, that sounds totally ridiculous and stupid when you first hear about it. But once you start using it, you realize how much fun it is.

It’s safe to say that I am now all a-Twitter.

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