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Archive for June, 2011

If you are a news hound like me, you get most of your up-to-the-millisecond news from social media. While on line at a department store, waiting for the light to change, or getting a pedicure, I will frequently glance at my SmartPhone’s numerous apps just to make sure I’m not missing any breaking news.

For in-depth coverage and some semblance of accuracy and eloquence, I’ll buy the New York Times after the fact. If I want to know how my friends and colleagues are reacting to news whether it’s some pop culture scandal, a major current event, or a business merger, I turn to Facebook and LinkedIn. But if I want to know what is going on right now, this minute, this very second, I consult my “tweet peeps”. This way I get to know how the rest of the world is reacting to local, regional, or global happenings and what they are having for breakfast as well. I am, like the rest of the world, wowed by minutiae and the occasional train wreck that passes as news. Some tweets are quite clever. For instance, when a spunky serpent allegedly escaped from our local zoo an enterprising tweeter created the @BronxZooCobra  Twitter account, tweeting about the snake’s adventures while on the lam. I confess, not only did I follow the Twitter postings, I added it to my phone’s SMS so I could be alerted each time “she” tweeted about where she was slithering about at the moment. And I have been known to “RT” or “retweet” some of the postings as if it made me just as clever by association.

That this propensity to micro-blog every experience with the hopes to capture that moment is so popular these days, it’s hard to believe that Twitter is only five years old and only reached its tipping point barely two or three years ago way before “doh” once attributed to Homer Simpson was replaced with “duh” now attributed to Charlie, aka “winning” Sheen. Let’s face it, there is nothing like the haughtiness of informing some stranger that you are in the loop about what is happening right now as opposed to discussing with your dinner date what has already happened one hour ago. Take Sohaib Athar, the Pakistani IT Consultant who was the first to tweet about the Bin Laden raid. He became an instant celebrity just for tweeting about the noise from the helicopters thoroughly pissing him off.  Boom. Instant celebrity.

The whole thing got me to wondering what it would have been like if Twitter existed during previous major news-making events. Would Isrealite420 have tweeted “OMG it’s a tsunami! BACKWARDS!!!” upon witnessing Moses parting the Red Sea? Here are a few assumptions I made on how moments in history might have been captured in 140 characters or less if Twitter existed throughout the centuries.

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