I Lost My Twitter Cherry Today

Blame it on @aplusk. Blame it on @Oprah.  Blame it on @CNN even, but yes, I’ve finally decided to join the Twitter brigade.

Twitter is a site where users post 140-character messages that are distributed to groups of people/users who follow their every post… they’re known as “followers”.  The service allows users to “tweet” (post) as well as “follow” other Twitterers.

http://twitter.com/boboleechron is where you’ll find me… and I’m just getting my “sea legs” around the service.

I first got introduced to Twitter during my daily tech readings a few years ago.  Then Keith, a friend and fellow blogger of mine, started using it.  I didn’t seem to think I had the time or the “content” to start a “microblog”.

The recent race to a million Twitter followers between CNN and Ashton Kutcher (aplusk) got my attention… as did the fact that Oprah Winfrey became the latest celebrity to join the service.   Kutcher said that:

“I found it astonishing that one person can actually have as big of a voice online as what an entire media company can on Twitter,” Kutcher says in a video, which was shot from inside a car and was posted on Qik.com.

“So I just thought that was just kind of an amazing comment on the state of our media, and I said that, if I beat CNN to 1 million viewers, then I would ding-dong ditch Ted Turner — because I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”

My first thought was that he was right… Twitter is a great equalizer for the masses.  The people now have the means to reach others and to spread their versions of the real story.

Then I started to think again… just who is Ashton Kutcher?   Besides the fact that he’s an actor and the husband of a famous actress, who is he?  Why would a million people choose to get their “news” from @aplusk as opposed to CNN?  In a sense, his winning the race to a million followers is symptomatic of the problem being faced by all media carriers, especially the traditional press: the masses are no longer interesting in reading yesterday’s news.  Advances in communications and internet technologies are blurring the dividing lines between us all.   The global village is now, and we’re all sitting in the same cafe with the same access to the same gossip about what “Mary” got herself into last night… as soon as she updates her online status.

I read online that some view this race to a million as further proof of the dumbing down of America, and by extension, the globe. I disagree.  A million people wanting to find out more about what Ashton and Demi wore to lunch as opposed to wanting to hear more about the economic plans of the Obama administration isn’t dumb…

No, I don’t think its dumb at all.  Its escapist. Life today is stressful.  People have lost their houses, their jobs, their live savings… its getting harder to afford the basics for most of us as our salaries stay the same or go kaput whilst prices skyrocket.  The comings and goings of celebrities help people tune out of the world for awhile… put a smile or a smirk on a few faces everyday… entertainment.  Besides which, why buy the newspaper cow when the information milk is free? 😆

I hope, if anything, that I get to interact with more of you folks… and even make a few more friends via Twitter.  I’m a later adopter by nature when it comes to technology… I know someone always comes along with something better, faster and stronger on short notice.  Feel free to follow my feed and to post your own in the comments, if you wish.  I promise not to be a spammer, and not to tweet (or retweet) crap!

Peace and Rice,


9 Responses to “I Lost My Twitter Cherry Today”

  1. April 18, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    looking 4ward to following… the cnn feed that sparked it was @cnnbrk tho…

  2. 3 youcouldbelievethis
    April 19, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Late adopters rule!

  3. April 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    i have found the people who interact with me on twitter are people who never commented on trinigourmet but who are still avid readers. they are also people who in some cases i never knew through facebook. so in my mind, it’s an overlapping yet distinct demographic, and it’s never a bad thing to know more about who is interested in and supporting your work 🙂

    • April 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm

      Hmm… its interesting. In a similar way, I’ve also found myself added to blogrolls of people I’ve never interacted via blog comments.

      I’m already seeing some traffic from Twitter coming over… its not a lot, but its something, and its steady, so its all good!

      I’m really looking forward to meeting and greeting other readers/bloggers via Twitter. 🙂

      Now I need to find me a real *cork* Twitter badge for the blogs! LOL!

  4. April 21, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Well, that’s the beauty of the system: pick and choose 😉 Pick the services that you find intriguing, even if you don’t know yet if they will be useful to you, and then, after a while, abandon or delete the accounts you don’t use. A bee-like behaviour, if you like…

    As for your point on escapism, well spotted! On the one side, here in Europe, I’m happy to see a 10-year kid reading a newspaper, but then, when I realize it’s one of the free newspapers almost uniquely composed of gossip and trivia, I’m a bit worried. A whole generation is growing up without knowing how to distinguish between information and distraction.

    Ah, well, I guess I’m getting old… 🙂

    • April 21, 2009 at 11:22 am

      No, but you make a serious point. Reading is fundamental, and unless we have people who’re attuned to the difference between noise and information, we’re screwed… and it doesn’t matter if you’re a “developed” or “developing” nation, either.

      At the recently concluded Summit of the Americas (held here in Trinidad) the media was banned from covering events after the first day due to a ‘scuffle’ that broke out between 2 journalists trying to get a money shot of either Chavez, Obama, or both. Reports outside the summit were sketchy, with a lot of media personnel saying that they “weren’t sure” of what exactly took place.

      How can a room filled with photogs and writers “be in the dark” over something that took place right in front of their faces?


      • April 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

        Really?! o_0 I don’t know if Twittering is already a frequent habit in Trinidad or not (please pardon my crass ignorance, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit your country yet), but this looks like one of those situations where a Twitter channel dedicated to the event would have come in handy.

        Which also brings me back to our topic at hand. Although very useful (still, since that may change when its more widely adopted) for “getting out” information, Twitter is just raw information: unchecked, unverified and noisy. it’s a very useful tool for journalists and the like (although too few of them seems to realize its potential, they see it more as a kind of unfair competition), but its contents still need to be filtered, analyzed, verified, commented and completed in order to have a more meaningful piece of information in the longer term. Herein, it seems to me, lays the future role of online journalists.

        And to say that all this was already discussed and debated _ad nauseam_ in the ’90, with the emergence of the web… *of which Twitter is but one small element*!

        Looking forward to your writings in future, cheers!

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