The recent meteoric rise of Twitter has influenced my life greatly in the last few weeks, for several reasons. One of them is the sheer addictiveness of the whole thing - it's easy, write a quick status update (my favourite part of Facebook anyway), click send, and watch a few friends update their statuses too. Add replies, hashtags, followers and Twitpic, and you have a whole community of people who are both completely normal, and a bit techno-geeky.
Another reason is the interesting combination of people who use it, with many celebrities and porn stars joining the fad, along with major news agencies and political campaignists, and your run of the mill average Joe Blogger. The topics are interesting, and there is the usual gathering of smut and crude spam crap that naturally follows all internet societies, but it is for the most part entertaining, enlightening and interesting enough to get me through boring meetings.
Then, on cue, enter a world first (well, a universe first, if you like) as astronaut Mike Massimino becomes the first person to tweet from space. Fellow tweeters (in his field) are NASA and soon to be in space astronaut Mark Polansky. There are others, but these are the ones I follow (if you're suddenly itching to hear what I have to tweet about, I can be found here). Tweeting about astronaut training, the days leading up to the launch of Atlantis on STS-125 on the last ever repair mission to the Hubble telescope, and then tweeting about the spacewalks and missions in space, and now their return, these tweeple have kept me glued to my computer screen.
I have always been fascinated by space, but following their tweets (also where I learned of the existence of www.nasa.gov/ntv) brought the whole experience right home. The images from NASA have been awesome, as have their regular updates on the missions, and I found myself wondering what it would be like to be an astronaut and if I could actually be one - thoughts I'm sure most boys have at some point - and it is possible (though difficult for South Africans, especially deaf ones like me) and more easily accessible than most would realise.
It has been a thoroughly revitalising experience for me, to see technology and a fast growing fad be used to get public interest growing in projects that people might otherwise not see or hear about. I would probably not have watched the launch of Atlantis live on NASA TV if it weren't for Twitter, and by extension neither would the girls in my house. It's awesome that things like these are made easy to find, and while it makes the world a smaller place, it gives us knowledge we'd otherwise have trouble finding, and that makes it more awesome.
The other interesting twitter experience I've had is following the account of Liverpool TV. The journalists regularly tweet about stories or promotions on the website, or generally interesting facts of life in and around Liverpool Football Club and the goings on. With tweets about training, interviews, youth and reserve team matches, team reports, press box lunches and generally the laughs surrounding the club and it's employees, they're a must follow for me. I know more about the club and players now than ever before, and my natural thirst for LFC knowledge is sated by the advent of a cool idea, Twitter.
It certainly has changed my life, even if it has just given me somewhere to post useless updates and read up on interesting bits of inside info. I never considered myself to be completely conversant with all bits of technology and it's uses, or to be a techno-geeky dude, but if these circles are what I'm confined to when I use Twitter, then I'm cool with that. I tweet. Do you?