As an avid TechCrunch reader, I have a history of creating accounts for tools they mention without really thinking about what the tool does or whether I will actually use it. One such tool was Twitter. I honestly cannot remember when I created my Twitter account, but my inaugural tweet was almost a month to the day before my twins were born. I honestly have no memory of writing either of the two tweets recorded in my account, and I don't know why I decided to post a random comment about watching my twins play on the floor in late March of 2008. I have a really good memory, and both of these events, while permanently archived in Twitter, have completely dissolved from my mind. As if this can't get any stranger, I have 22 followers. I'm practically Ashton Kutcher. It's just weird to me that 22 people either saw or searched for my name and clicked the "Follow" button. I'm sure they are very disappointed. I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty confident the lack of activity in Twitter can be attributed to two things: a) I don't have a cool phone that lets me tweet at anytime and any place, and b) I find it kind of obnoxious. (I try not to think that some people actually consider what I do on this blog essentially the same at tweeting.) When I see status updates on Facebook that are obviously from Twitter (e.g., @, #, bit.ly, misspelled words, etc.), I actually get annoyed and don't read what the person actually wrote. More than that, however, is the fact that I don't really have time to read up-to-the-second updates about what people are doing. Do I really care that someone I kind of knew in high school needs more coffee? Personally, I don't feel the need to tell the world that I am sitting at a traffic light or that I just ate too much for lunch. And I am suddenly feeling the need to confess that the most chronic Twitter addicts in my Facebook network have either been de-friended or hidden. Wow, that feels better.
However, today things changed just ever so slightly. It all started when a web tool I like (Google Calendar) wouldn't load. I tried refreshing several times with no luck. I went to the Google Dashboard, but they don't even have today's date up yet. So, I had to look in the only place I knew would have realtime information on this. And I found out that some people are experiencing the same thing. There is no explanation or clue as to when it be available again, but at least Twitter let me find out that I'm not alone. It seems that this is not affecting everyone, by the way. So, rather than obsessing about this and trying to see if the problem was caused on my end, I could let it rest and get back to work.
Twitter can count this as a score in their favor. I still refuse to tweet, but if a widely-used web page won't work for me I will likely look on Twitter first. This is by no means comparable to the protests in Iran and the subsequent military crackdown, but I did get to experience firsthand the benefits of realtime data. I'm still trying to get my head around the implications this has for children growing up in the 21st Century and how these technologies will shape how they define "news." But it's an interesting thing to think about. And one more thing from curbyalexander @somerandomdude: We're all tired and ready to go home at the end of the day. But thanks for sharing.