Twitter joins Internet’s major social networking Web sites
Texting report card grades or what one is making for dinner to Twitter exposes an entire audience to the minutiae of a user’s life.
The social networking Web site, similar to Facebook or Myspace, allows users to send status updates via cellphone, instant messenger or the Web site itself (www.twitter.com) to their Twitter profile, which can be made public by users.
Computer science junior Kaleb Fulgham, who plans to become a Web developer after graduation, has added several professional programmers to his Twitter for updates on their professional lives.
"It’s pretty cool hearing about some big shot or some guy in a big corporation and what he does on a daily basis," Fulgham said.
While families and friends keep in touch through Twitter feeds, niche figures, including Stephen Colbert and many technology celebrities, have embraced Twitter as a convenient way to showcase their latest projects and activities to fans.
"It’s a blog for life. It’s getting the news out quickly, and I guess you can follow up later," said Fulgham, who admits to tweeting "Batman: Greatest movie ever."
Professional and political organizations use Twitter to deliver progress reports instantly to thousands of followers.
Sen. Obama’s Twitter updates frequently with tweets such as "Landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. Spoke earlier today in Amman, Jordan."
James Karl Buck attained international fame with his one-word tweet: "Arrested." Egyptian police had detained him for protesting. His Twitter message caused international uproar, earning him a "get out of jail free" card.
"It’s handy to have something like ‘this is what I’m doing now, this is what I’m doing now,’" said mechanical engineering senior Luke Herranen, who follows Fred Gallagher’s Twitter feed for progress reports on his sporadically-updated comic series.
While some Twitterers moan updates on a person’s dinner or lunch, Fulgham promotes a "live and let live" approach to Twitter.
"I guess you could call it ‘text updates’ for yourself that you want other people to know about you," Fulgham said.
UH Professor of Psychology Richard Kasschau said while students are drawn to this type of social interaction because of the reinforcing feeling they get through relaying such minute details, social networking Web sites such as Twitter only facilitate unproductive, spare verbiage.
"With the exception of facilitating enlightened self analysis, I see nothing to be gained by it," Kasschau said. "It will cut down on the productivity of the next generation.