Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971

Monday, April 18, 2011

Twitter: The Epitome of the Information Age

I started using Twitter January 11, 2009, three and a half years after the company started.  For those people not aware, Twitter is a service where you can follow other people and post short, 140 character "microblogs" called Tweets that your friends, or whoever, can read.  The idea of Twitter was born from a desire to have a text-based dispatch service, so people could text on their phone and the service would let their friends know what they were doing.  The character limit was 140 characters based on limits on cell phone SMS (text) messages, however, the first version was entirely web-based and SMS service was added later.  In the five years Twiiter has been around, it has grown from zero to over 200 million users, though it's estimated only 100 million of these users actually use it regularly.  But even 100 million is a huge number.

During the events in Egypt and the early days of this newest conflict in Libya, I learned most of what I knew directly from Twitter and from links posted to Twitter.  Minute by minute news (and rumour of course) spread quickly through the Twitter network as people posted what they knew and everybody retweeted it.  Even some news sites were posted details that came from Tweets from their readers.  The Twitter phenomenon is like nothing ever seen before.  It is the epitome of the Information Age.

I originally got joined Twitter for an easy way to post messages to my Facebook profile, but quickly Twitter took on a life of its own in my life.  You can do many things with Twitter.  My LiveJournal and Blogger blogs post to Twitter, LiveJournal using its built-in connection and Blogger using  I use Seesmic on my Blackberry to read Twitter and also to post to it.  Websites like can be used to shorten URLs (the web address used to get to webpages) so they don't use up as many characters in Twitter.  Both Seesmic and integrate with as well as similar services.  I also use a plug-in in the Google Chrome browser to shorten URLs right on the Twitter home page.  Seesmic and other clients integrate with other services like to embed pictures into Tweets, so they aren't only text anymore.  There are literally thousands of applications and websites that integrate with Twitter.  I even have a gadget on this blog that shows my latest Tweets.

Earlier today, I read the following article from CNN Tech:

The article talked both about the origins and history of Twitter and its future.  Many people are predicting the end of Twitter, based on a plateau in use of the website.  However, as the article points out, this is misleading.  This only counts direct web hits, not the plethora of applications that are used to access it, the websites like Facebook and LiveJournal that Tweets can be sent to, widgets and gadgets on websites, and the people who subscribe, send, and reply to Tweets from their regular cell phone with SMS.

Twitter isn't going anywhere, but with new applications, widgets, gadgets, and services coming out to increase its functionality, who knows what it will be like in two years, let alone ten.

Those of you who haven't heard of Twitter before now or haven't used Twitter, I suggest giving it a try.  You might just like it.

Feel free to follow me.  My Twitter account is kethar  (  Comment on this blog if you do follow me, and I'll be sure to follow you back.

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional


  1. Thank you. I fought my spell checker and Google trying to find the correct spelling, but I wasn't close enough for either to help me, nor to find it in a dictionary. It's corrected except for the path, so that it doesn't break links.