Earlier this year, after many months of guiltily not participating, I started using Twitter.
In case you aren't a Twitterer, (or is it Tweeter?), it's the social media vehicle for messages of 140 characters or less. One nice part about it is it counts the characters for you, and if you find yourself blathering on past the limit, the extra characters are color coded, so you can quickly see how much you've erred.
Like other social media, you can choose other Tweeters to follow, and others can follow you. It's very easy to Retweet someone else's pithy thoughts. Those are the basics; there're a whole lot of other features and options I have yet to fully master, but I do see others using them.
I tell of this not because I have any particular insight into Twitter. My first message was about as straightforward as they come: "Great alumni event in Watford City." There just wasn't room to say how nice the meeting space was, how many interesting alumni had come to the event, including a bunch of young and very chic recent grads, and that the food was delicious, especially the spinach dip.
I have, by way of comparison, quite a few more tweets than Warren Buffet, who started a few weeks before I did, with the wonderfully succinct message: "Warren is in the house," and has tweeted twice since then. But he has approximately 717,600 more followers than I do.
I follow many of our students, and they speak this Twittery language cluttered with symbols, such as:
will be good...
Or just nonsense, such as:
The reason I'm drawn to this Twitter experience is because of the student who taught me about it. She doesn't know this, we have never met. Her messages came to my attention because she was reporting the deliberations at a public meeting. At first, I was just happy to have this way to get real-time updates. But after a while I began to appreciate how easily articulate she is, particularly in such a short space. This sentence is not quite 140 characters. I am amazed at her ability to be insightful and witty and wise. And so fast.
I don't think the moral of this story is that the younger more tech-savvy crowd is about to take over the world. They are, for sure. But I think my message is how cool it is to be able to learn a whole lot from them.