Verve Column: Tales of Twitter
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Verve Column: Tales of Twitter

I strongly believe in the virtues of being fashionably late to social events. Let things get going a bit so I don’t show up during the awkward lull before enough people have arrived to keep conversations flowing. This strategy works well enough in real life but, as far as the Twitter party is concerned, I’m woefully behind the times.

In high school, the people I associated with the most weren’t active on Twitter. In fact, most people I knew thought it was a pretty useless site. If you can’t gossip in more than 140 characters and poke each other, what’s the point? Somewhere along the line I made an account for extra credit in a computer class. It was primarily used it to express my vaguely worded, sixteen-year-old angst.

Up until last fall, I visited Twitter maybe once every few months. Then one of my professors mentioned the site as one of the ways she keeps up with breaking news. Since I spend just about every waking moment outside of class on the computer, this seemed like a reasonable solution to my general ignorance of the world around me. So I logged back into my old account. Since throwing the evidence of my over-dramatic youth into a fire wasn’t an option, I deleted my original page and started fresh. I immediately followed about 15 different news sources…and J.K Rowling.

Twitter then joined the line-up of sites I cycled through when I should’ve been doing something else, but I still wasn’t posting much myself. My only followers were the Verm Cats and, inexplicably, a reporter from my local news station in Illinois. Twitter was still a one-way street of information instead of the platform of communication everyone kept telling me it was.

Then came the SGA executive debate on Wednesday. The Contemporary Media and Journalism department had hosted some free workshops with an expert in multi-media journalism last weekend, and I was inspired to pump up my social media presence.

“This,” I thought from the audience of the debate, “will be the night I live-tweet something.”

I posted my first Tweet of the night with the appropriate hashtag, and within a few seconds it had been retweeted, favorited and I gained a follower.

“I’m a celebrity!” I thought. Then the moderator called the audience to attention and asked that we turn our cellphones off. I took this literally and shoved my phone in my backpack where it stayed until the event was over.

Despite my slow start, I think the appeal of Twitter is finally starting to make sense. It’s not just a great news source, but a nice method of conversing with people who are interested in the same things you are—be that the SGA debate or the Bachelor. So while I have no plans to be the next Twitter VIP, at least I made it to the party. Better late than never.

(Editors: if you like, you can put my twitter handle, @CrabbyColumns, with this. I can also add that to my bio information)