Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Twitter, Tweet, Twit
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Twitter, Tweet, Twit

Harley Sachs - December 1st, 2008
Hold onto your hats! The Oxford English Dictionary is about to be assaulted by a new stream of words which will boggle your mind: twitter, tweet, twit, Twhirl, Tweet Scan, Twemes, Hashtags, Mashups, Twittervision, Twitterfone, Twitterholic and 8ZAP. These are probably just the start of a flood of internet jargon all related to a form of community text messaging called Twitter.
Some readers may remember the old contests, “In 25 words or less, complete the sentence, ‘I like --- product because…’” for which you might win an electric toaster or a year’s supply of Drek laundry detergent. Now with Twitter, it’s “Can you send your whole text message in 140 characters or less?”
At one time, jealous of all those folks with their cell phones to their ears on the street, on busses, and while driving through intersections, I bought a one dollar toy cell phone so I could pretend to be with the crowd. Then I bought a little WalMart Nokia that is real and works.
But that’s still a one-to-one call; yet with text messaging and Twitter, I can tell everyone in my crowd of friends what I am having for dinner this very moment, not that they care.
In a sense, Twitter is similar to the days of party-line hard-wired telephones. If you never hung up the phone, everyone on the party line knew simultaneously what you had to say.
You can read an extensive discussion of Twitter in all its ramifications on Wikipedia or you can, of course, sign up as a Twitter user at www.Twitter.com. That is, if you really need to be connected all the time to your clique of pals. This is the wired, or more correctly, “connected” generation. Kids deprived of cell phones feel deprived of their liberty.
But as the available internet information on Twitter will reveal, there are important and practical uses for Twitter beyond the endless and silly twittering that goes on among the teenage twits. Crews fighting forest fires, separated by smoke, flames, and distance, can keep in constant touch by that form of instant messaging so everyone on the team is informed and alerted to sudden changes.
It’s also used by the Red Cross when dealing with natural disasters. With Twitter, there’s instant messaging -- no need to call an individual. The whole team is instantly informed.
Twitter is also an emergency communication option for college students in the wake of recent campus shootings.
It’s reported that over three million people are signed up for Twitter. It’s also widely used in Japan, that gadget-loving country, even though Twitter there started out in English.
Twitter was first developed in San Francisco by a startup company called Obvious. Like many technological advances, there have been some unanticipated consequences. With their cell phones forever on to receive Twitter messages, people become overwhelmed with information they do not need or want -- like what your network of friends are having for dinner or if they’re suffering a case of constipation. If you are so wired that you leave the cell phone on when you go to bed, you may be awakened by new messages and never get a decent night’s sleep.
Then there are fake messages and even phone viruses. Like the spy-versus-spy cartoons in Mad magazine, for every mischief there’s a counter-mischief or attempted remedy.
Since I’m not in a fire department or on a Red Cross emergency service team, I don’t need to be a Twit. Nor do I want to have my cell phone perpetually on so the GPS feature tells eavesdroppers where I am at all times. You don’t have to play Twitter. You can opt out.
But if you have a compulsive need to stay connected to your pals all of the time, Twitter may be for you. If so, sign up -- it’s free. But be careful. You may be giving up your privacy and asking for uninterrupted interruptions. There’s a limit to multi-tasking. The emergency Twitter message, called “fail whale,” is the symbol of a Beluga whale twittering that the system is overloaded.
 
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