Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

June 26, 2009 11:56 AM

About Twitter

Presumably, after the "commercial" for Facebook in the last issue of the Washington Watch you joined the masses and signed up. If you have already taken the plunge, you are now ready for the next step, TWEETING.

If you have yet to hear about "Twitter.com," you have certainly been exposed to this communication service if you have been paying attention to the news coming from Iran. As the Iranian government began blocking ordinary communication channels out of the country, "tweeting" became the device that many American and other world news outlets are using to feed their reporting on the demonstrations, etc.

As with Facebook, participation is free. You signup at Twitter.com and then you are able to list folks you would like to "follow." Once you are following, you receive whatever information that person decides to send out. The person you want to follow has to agree to allow you to follow him, her or it.

Finding someone you are interested in following as a "tweeter" requires a little trial an error. There is a place to search for a name, and once you get a hit, you can see who that person is following or who is following them. You can then decide whether you want to follow one of those folks.

I am following 18 people, and being followed by 20 people. For example, I follow several news sources, like George Stephanopoulos, Jake Tapper and several other news services, like CNN.

My name on Twitter is "mikesww."

And you may find that people you have never heard of will decide to follow you.

The limitation of each individual "tweet" is 140 characters, including spaces. Your immediate reaction will be that you can't say anything meaningful in that short a message. Give it a try and you will be surprised. .

I have chosen to "tweet" things like: "Most pizzas are round; why are pizza boxes always square?" Or my recent tweet: "Why is it that we put men on the moon before we thought to put wheels on suitcases?" [WW readers will recognize those items from the April WW.]

One caution -- information that you receive on Twitter is no better than the carefulness and reliability of the "tweeter." It has been and will be used to mislead people.

Not everyone is an "early" adopter of the various forms of instant communication. "Politico" reported the following from Congressman Barney Frank. "The left and right live in parallel universes. The right listens to talk radio, the left's on the internet, and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality....I have now one ambition, to retire before it becomes essential to tweet."

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