01.12.2011 10:34 AM

140 characters

Twitter is micro-blogging. It’s reporting on steroids. It’s a new age water cooler. It’s a web ecosystem. Twitter is [fill in]…

I’m writing about Twitter’s political significance for Sun media this weekend, and figured I’d give y’all an opportunity to define what Twitter means to you, if anything.

Fill in the blank!  Share a link you found interesting! Use 140 characters or more!


  1. dave says:

    Will I get a cut if you use what I say in your column?

    (Will a contract done this way have legal standing?

    Actually, the whole field of what standing blogs/tweets et al might have in our legal system might be interesting.)

  2. bigcitylib says:

    Means squat.
    Annoying kids stuff.
    Encourages the laziest form of slacktivism.
    Encourages witless boobs to attempt bon mots.
    Is the Myspace of 2012.
    Will never last.

    • Namesake says:

      er, weren’t they saying something very similar to that about blogs, there, Grampa? And, um, the Internet itself? And, tee hee, Television (sorry, the “boob toob”)?

      • hugger says:

        I remember my Dad referring to the tube as money for jam back in the 50’s. I think about that sometimes when I am paying the $65 it costs me for crummy cable.


        Great Grandpa

    • Sean says:

      couldn’t have said it better!

    • The Doctor says:

      Don’t know if it will last or not, but it is vacuous. Unfortunately, lots of things that are vacuous do last.

      Oh yeah, I forgot to mention narcissistic. That too.

  3. Derek Pearce says:

    …means nothing to me. I’m not a member, have never gone their wesbite, and have no interest in it. In many ways I guess I’m an old fogey b/c I just don’t see the appeal– stunted communication for the attention deficit crowd seems to sum it up for me.

  4. hugger says:

    Twitter is ………

    A word than can be used to describe a conservative who is smarter than the most conservatives.

    Grifter is………

    A word that can be used to describe a conservative who is smarter than a Twitter.

    Hope that helps.

    Reformatory Guard decloaking now. Full power to the shields Mr. Scot

  5. Dave says:

    Ultra responsive to news/gossip/rumours. It is the closest thing we have to a “hive mind” in that provides a picture into what thousands of people are thinking about at a given time.

    • JenS says:

      . . . a good gauge of what people are talking and thinking about, though mildly skewed given the obvious demographic who don’t/won’t get it.

  6. Steve T says:

    Twitter is for the short-attention-span generation. It’s also quite self-centered: “Here, let me regale you with minutae about my life, which is oh so interesting.”

    Not interested in it, and can’t imagine I ever will be. And I’m a regular Facebook user (and, obviously, enjoy posting on blogs).

    • Namesake says:

      I didn’t think so, either, but that’s because I didn’t know how it worked:

      specifically, about its use of ‘hash tags,’ which work like subject / keyword tags, which not only the ‘users’ can subscribe to be instantly forwarded items of interest on that topic from people all over the country & world while on the go, but which the rest of us can dip into at our leisure using the homepage, from our home computers.

      It’s useful for political (or other types of) junkies in the same way as news aggregators like Bourque or National Newswatch, but not as restricted to whatever biases or filters the two guys running those sites use.

      Here, see for yourself: http://twitter.com/search?q=%23cdnpoli

      • JenS says:

        That nailed it, Namesake. If it’s not used properly, it really appears vacuous and narcissistic. But if you’re following the right feeds, checking what’s been hash-tagged, etc., it can be very useful. I had a Twitter account for months, but never used it. Then, it was explained to me, and suddenly I found it could be a very useful tool.

        I don’t follow very many people who use Twitter to describe the minutiae of their lives. That doesn’t interest me. But I do follow a lot of people who Tweet interesting news or political links.

        • Steve T says:

          Very good points. To me, then, it sounds like Twitter for the average person is more of an info-receipt tool. Perhaps I’ll have to give it a try…

  7. Le Visiteur says:

    A way for lonely people to feel like they are with someone. It is a good social tool and a potentially lucrative one. Members feel like they are part of a club where only they know the rules.

  8. allegra fortissima says:

    I tweet, therefore I am – or: I am because I tweet?

    You’re welcome 🙂

  9. Chris says:

    I think this t-shirt sums it up perfectly Social Media

  10. Cath says:

    Twitter is something I’ve resisted because it’s got the potential of being another electronic diversion that I come to dislike after the novelty wears off. I like it that no one needs to know what I think or what I’m doing 24/7. A day without technology is getting harder to accomplish but I honestly feel healthier physically and mentally when I’m NOT connected to the rest of the world through e-gadgets.

  11. PoliticalPundit says:

    Twitter is 99.9% dross with the odd golden nugget.

    And then the nugget is like a needle lost in a haystack!!

  12. As an author, Twitter has had a HUGE impact for me in a positive way. Through Twitter I’ve…

    Been kept abreast of what’s happening in the publishing world
    Began to develop a fan base for my novels
    Met and formed friendships with other published authors
    Developed an author blog with partner authors to promote our work
    Obtained book blurbs from bestselling authors for all my novels
    Been kept abreast of which literary agents are building a client list
    Promoted my books
    Found a literary agent with an A-List agency.

    So yeah, Twitter rocks.

  13. jStanton says:

    If one avoids the rather silly hyperbole generated by the MSM, presumably so, in their minds, they appear au courant, Twitter is simply a vehicle to syndicate data.

    In some limited circumstances this could be quite useful and practical. But when used simply to disseminate the vacuous passing thoughts evidently of twits, it becomes another generator of static in the firmament; a mental pollution disseminator.

    We understand that MSM writers want desperately to appear relevant, and so they unquestioningly embrace “new” technologies. If only one could get real and write an article like “Twitter – WTF???”

    • Warren says:

      Great comments, thank you. Keep ’em coming, guys!

    • Cath says:

      well written jStanton, I agree with you. I worry for my kids who often appear to have nothing else but their square electronic gadgets to interact with. They’re already showing signs of being lazy communicators. I worry that they miss out on the nuances of real-time, in-person chatter. I say that yet, here I am again. I can’t wait until the first chapter of EGA(Electronic Gadgets Anonymous) starts in southern Ontario. It’s bound to happen to cure the sickness of instant messaging 24/7.

      One lesson I learned though is that folks who were bad communicators and bad at correspondence in real-time are just as bad electronically…..sometimes worse.

  14. TDotRome says:

    I’m amazed at some of these comments and opinions that people are pulling out of their ass. Does this speak to some kind of communication divide? I’m not sure, but it’s proof that politicos (cough, cough) need to reach people with different methods.

    “A way for lonely people to feel like they are with someone.” Huh? You think only recluses join Twitter? Ridiculous. And, if someone makes a new friend thru Twitter, then that’s awesome.

    “It?s also quite self-centered: ?Here, let me regale you with minutae…..” Sure, there are people that do that, but nobody makes you follow them. Just follow people that interest you. There are lots of people out there communicating great things.

    “Annoying kids stuff” Don’t be foolish. The vast majority of Twitter users are over 25 years old.

    I’m not trying to pick on anyone. These quotes are representative of many people. I just joined Twitter a few weeks ago, and I love it. I’m now in communication with people I never would have been in the past. For example, I follow a couple of Toronto Raptors, and can send them messages, and they respond. How cool is that? It’s like being a little kid in the 20’s, who’s waiting outside the ballpark to chat with the players as they leave.

    Saying it’s for people with short-attention spans is wrong. I’m getting links to articles, photos, videos and interviews I would have never found before. And, I can get info quickly. A reporter sitting in a Toronto budget meeting can tweet the info. Meaning I don’t have to tie myself to the 6 o’clock news, which sucks anyway. Besides short-attention is required in modern times. There is so much info out there that you need to learn to dismiss the crap quickly.

    Oh, and it will last. Twitter, like Facebook, is slick, modern and evolving. MySpace is mostly one-way communication and a sloppy mess to look at.

    And, yeah, I talk about myself. Because I do interesting things, like travel more than most of my friends. Last year I drove to California, and wrote Facebook updates daily. They loved it. I’m sure I can use Twitter something similar in the future.

    People who don’t use it seem to thing it’s this big “thing” that has to be grappled. When, really, it can be as much or as little as you want it to be.

  15. WDM says:

    I adore Twitter. That being said, speaking in short bursts means 90% of the context of a comment can disappear. In short, it’s perfect fodder for politics.

  16. Brian says:

    Properly used, Twitter makes the press release obsolete.

  17. Namesake says:

    So here’s some real-time examples of a couple nuggets I just picked up from the #cdnpoli Twitter Search stream:

    It seems the CRTC is trying to significantly water down the standards that radio & TV news outlets are to be held to (right on the eve of a certain solar burst):

    Currently, licensees “shall not [knowingly] broadcast any false or misleading news.” But heck, that doesn’t allow for enough of that ‘truthiness’ the right’s come to know and love, designed to plump up their own positions and demonize and ridicule their opponents.

    So they’re proposing to — and will, unless enough of us submit comments to try to stop them — add a “No Harm, No Foul” clause, such that it’ll be only wrong to knowingly broadcast falsehoods & misleading comments in news reports if it: “endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.” http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-14.htm

    That’s a pretty frightening turn of events, given how this govt’s also been strangling the country’s capacity to monitor and prove when something’s harmful etc., plus this opens the floodgates to all the within-a-hair’s-breadth-of-libel characterization of the Opposition political parties that occurs pretty much every day in a certain chain’s print media.

    But the only way to try to stop that is to submit a formal comment, which goes on the official record, and “becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. This information includes personal information, such as full names, email addresses, postal/street addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers, and any other personal information parties provide.” Oh, joy.

    Couple that with the other nugget:

    The PMO’s been monitoring blogs like this and the twitterverse, for those types of dissenting comments.

    Only definitely on the G20 summit and Israeli issues at the time, according to this G&M report, http://urlm.in/gqnm

    but let’s not forget how they issued a contract through Merx a year ago to monitor social media and interject to clarify matters related to the seal hunt. http://urlm.in/gqnl

    And people wonder why I use a pseudoname.

  18. Philip says:

    Some Twitter feeds can be very good. The best one, in my experience, has been the sci-fi writer William Gibson. His feed and those who follow him give off a constant stream new ideas, plot ideas, links to amazing articles and photos. When Twitter is good it can really inspire. That said, there are plenty of hapless idiots who should not own a computer never mind an internet connection. Tony Clement springs immediately comes to mind.
    I’ll see myself out.

  19. hugger says:

    New and improved was the old slogan. Not much has changed. Except the extent of myopia and the cost of the toys.

    Great Grandpa

  20. Mr. Chamberlain says:

    Twitter is…

    Twitter is. Twitter is whatever you make it.

  21. Darren K says:

    I spent the past 18 months teaching photography classes for new purchasers of cameras. One of the questions I asked my classes from the big city, to smaller hamlets was “who’s on twitter in this class. Most of the time, the answer was 0. When I asked the class to tell me why, they said it was mostly an American thing. I thought they would say something about certain age groups, which didn’t get discussed. When I suggested it, even the young’ns in the class (Under 25) said they didn’t use it.

    I understand some people use it to get news info. Maybe you boys deep in Politics like to keep in constant touch, but I don’t think anyone wants to know that I’m in line for the bathroom at some movie theatre.

    Twitter is…..not important to me.

  22. Mr. Chamberlain says:

    Twitter is…


  23. palmerston says:

    I love twitter. I joined two weeks before the G20 after lurking for awhile and realized how valuable a tool it would be in getting around downtown Toronto. It paid off when I avoided walking into two major protests. The use of hashtags is invaluable for special events.

    I really enjoyed Twitter during the Toronto mayoralty election. The haiku of electioneering. Political rhetoric in 140 words or less. What’s not to love? Even when some were in obvious panic mode and promising the earth, moon and stars. And more importantly, I was in the loop regarding all the various debates that were happening and being streamed online. That was awesome.

    When I first signed up I followed a few celebrities but found that most of their tweets translated into, “Give me your money”. Ewww, take a bow Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys for their “Digital Death” campaign to raise $1M (from their fans) for AIDS. They were “dead” on social media and would stay offline until the money was raised. Nobody cared. Finally, someone in the pharmaceutical industry ponied up the remaining $700,000. and omg! they’re alive!!! Major. Starpower. Ego. Fail. Yay!

    Twitter also has some great fake satirical accounts that lighten up a mostly political-news heavy timeline. Can’t wait for the Ontario provincial election.

  24. Yes, micro blogging / blogging / Twitter et al can be incredibly useful. But maybe the most important aspect of it for my use of Twitter is that it something I can stop following or contributing to easily, like most of the on-line component of my life. Haven’t tweeted or even read a tweet in months. Not missing it.

    Haven’t been following or thinking that much about politics either for that matter. A peek in here once in a while tells me enough – nothing much is changing soon.

  25. The Sarus says:


    1 sparrows twittered under the eaves; chirp, chirrup, cheep, tweet, peep, chatter, trill, warble, sing.
    2 stop twittering about Francis; blather, jabber, blabber, chatter, chitter, gabble, go on, blab, rattle, yap, prattle, babble, blither, ramble; informal yak, quack, yabber, talk someone’s ear off.

    1 a bird’s twitter; chirp, chirrup, cheep, tweet, peep, trill, warble, song.
    2 her nonstop twitter; prattle, chatter, babble, talk, gabble, blabber; informal yakking.

  26. Twitter is a lot of people selling, but not a lot buying.

  27. Jan says:

    Are you selling this?

  28. Phil S says:

    Twitter is…great for sports gamblers

  29. Cath says:

    in a world where size rarely matters I am humbled – was this an essay question:-)

  30. hugger says:

    Amways info kits came with pictures.

  31. eattv says:

    …a symptom of the fact that we don’t care about the details anymore.

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