September 25, 2009
Twiddict defends thirst for TwitterBreaking news: Twitter can save your life. Or at least help you get out of jail. This was the case for American student journalist James Buck who, while covering a protest in Egypt, was taken by police. "Arrested" was all he tweeted while sitting in the police car and within seconds his friends who followed him were able to contact the authorities. Less than 24 hours later, Buck tweeted yet another message: "Free."
Besides possibly saving a fellow journalist's life, I admit that I like Twitter. Yes, contrary to last week's editorial, I do in fact tweet, have tweeps and may even be a little bit of a twiddict.
Mind you I'm totally opposed to overzealous use of Twitter, and I'm not here to convert non-Tweeters -- I'll be the first to admit that it seems to be taking over our society. But I will defend that Twitter does have some genius behind it and can be used as a valuable resource.
Before I get into that, I would just like to say that we Tweeters are not pretentious. Personally, I'm just passionate about news and to some degree, I think that's what makes me a good journalist.
While many Tweeters do follow celebrities, I mainly use Twitter to follow MSNBC, The New York Times and The White House to name a few. Not only do they give me the important headlines conveniently via text message, but they also remind me how my future career is changing.
Twitter is just one of many social mediums that are quickly becoming an essential component of the communications field. We are expanding beyond our typical methods of reaching the masses, and whether you love or loath it, Twitter is a huge part of it.
I've been told over again by professionals that in order to be successful in our business today, journalists need to master how to effectively use these new tools. Showing competence and excitement for modern news methods is a plus to an employer, and if being excited about Twitter can help me find a job in this economy, I'm all about it.
In the end, Twitter may just be a fad, but learning how to use it only enhances my media skills for the next big thing. But for now Twitter itself is pretty amazing. When one person can send out one short message to millions of people simultaneously, it shows how far technology has come and what we can expect in the future.
Sure e-mail and Facebook use similar concepts, but it's Twitter's simplicity, I think, that has made it popular with the media. After all, our goal as news writers is to reach as many people as possible, giving them the news they want, making it fast and right to the point. Believe it or not, 140 characters seems to be just enough.
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