I had vowed to readers I would never again write about Twitter. It is, after all, a frivolous little diversion. True, in the same breath, I had also acknowledged (in one of my last posts on the topic) that this trivial toy has the potential to save lives. It can spread news when all other sources are slow to arrive or completely cut off. In a time of rising terrorist threat levels around the world, that makes Twitter sound far less trivial.
Proof of my theory arrived today. Here’s the story that has brought me out of my Twitter silence. Warning: The blog entry I cite, on the other side of this link, includes a profanity in one of the images.
A friend had been trying to coax Howard Lindzon into the Twitter habit. He refused, and finally conceded only on this condition: His “Tweets” would only come from him via his cell phone, and only when he was — ahem — using the facilities. Since he considered Twitter a waste, he was only going to Twitter about waste. But that all changed when there was a terrifying steam pipe explosion. Caught with no other way to get or receive news about it, you can guess where he turned:
Lindzon uses the one tool he bashes and pokes fun at to inform and hopefully inform himself of a crisis situation. Instantly! Wirelessly! … My buddy Loic Le Meur’s twitts a few days ago about how he catches up with news on Twitter more that by reading his RSS.
Now excentric [sic] Lindzon accepts my invitation to join and unwilingly [sic] offers this awesome example of the right person at the right time in the right place using the right service and instantly informing his peers he networked with registering to Twitter. Is this the real web 2.0? Ought to be, as Lindzon did not blog or email about the blast. He freakin twittered it!
When the telephone was invented, it wasn’t thought of as a tool for doing business. It was imagined by most as a way, before consumer radio appliances entered the picture, of carrying music and news across great distances. That all changed of course. Relatively speaking, it didn’t take long for this “toy” to earn its keep in society (just a few decades).
Could Twitter, the first truly widespread mobile time-waster, be on its way to its own social legitimacy?