HAVE ANY OF you, my dear readers, been using the Twitter much? No?
Somebody's sure using it, and it isn't just kids. I've seen the likes of Margaret Abe-Koga, Alicia Crank and Hugh J. Donagher III on there.
The Voice has a Twitter account too, at twitter.com/mvvoice. And I've got a personal account at twitter.com/donjfran.
Different people (or entities) use Twitter for different things. The Voice account is mainly used to point people back to our Web site, where interesting stories or posts might be found. However, should a large-scale emergency occur in Mountain View, God forbid, the account will be very useful for posting updates from the scene. Meanwhile, Voice columnist Angela Hey (twitter.com/amhey) uses it to expound on upcoming high-tech events and gadgetry.
Others use accounts just to receive information, and I must say Twitter can be highly effective for this purpose. Say you're a Giants fan. You subscribe to (or "follow," in Twitterspeak) a number of other Giants fans — as many as you like — who are regular posters themselves. Then sit back and watch as the posts ("tweets") roll in, in real-time, each with their own links or observations.
In 10 minutes you'll find yourself with an amazing mix of reading material, and more stuff 10 minutes after that, etc. You'll only ever get to a fraction of this material, of course, but it's always more diverse, timely and strange — more organic — than anything turning up in an old-fashioned Google search.
Google search is so 2008.
As for me, I mostly use my personal account for making nonsensical jokes and observations ("Am I conflicted? Yes and no") before logging off. Sometimes I post links to things I find interesting or funny. And sometimes I uncover interesting details about Mountain View and whatever else.
By far my favorite twitterers are the people at Mountain View's SETI Institute (twitter.com/SETIInstitute). They're always good for such tweets as "Early warning system would predict space storms on Mars" or "CERN collider begins subatomic exploration — and the universe didn't end!"
Some would counter that the universe has ended, more or less, not because of CERN but because of Twitter. I'm not sure I disagree. Follow me @donjfran and I'll tell u what real #journos think about it.
For old-school e-mail users, Don Frances can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.