Given that lots of kids are converting parents from talking to texting, Twitter may be around the corner for you. If you've heard people at your house use the word "twitter" in association with technology and think it's yet another frivolous temptation for chronic multitaskers (as I did when a friend said she was swamped by tweets at a conference), there's a mind-changing story in the San Jose Mercury News for you. In it the mere twittering (or "texting") of the word "Arrested" on his cellphone to "a wide circle of friends in the United States and to the mostly leftist, anti-government bloggers in Egypt who are the subject of his graduate journalism project" got a University of California, Berkeley, student out of an Egyptian jail within 24 hours. But there are more mundane reasons to use this technology that's like group texting on the fly or push micro-moblogging (broadcasting mini blog posts on your phone to your contact list): keeping in touch with your family during the odd free moment on a business trip, spontaneously sharing your reaction to (and getting fast feedback on) a comment in a conference, sending a link or new contact info to a bunch of friends all at once, etc., etc. It'd be interesting to get a bunch of teenagers in a room and ask them if they use it in addition to IM-ing and social networking. Here's "How Twitter Works" at howstuffworks.com and another Twitter primer that I was tipped off to by my friends at the California Technology Assistance Project. Meanwhile, here's a slightly snide view of Twitter in a Wired blog, and – this just in! – Twitter's popularity seems to have caused some service disruption, and CNET looks into it in "Can't live without Twitter? Don't believe the hype."
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