Comic relief is all the more enjoyable when it arrives in the midst of critical mass.

That pretty much describes my encounter with Brian Lilley’s piece on Twitter.

In the old days (like last year), I would attend an
event or watch Parliament, record what happened, sort out what was new,
what was old, what people needed to hear or wanted to hear and report
on the event. Now reporters need to not only file their stories each
day, they have to update the stories on the web as the day goes on.
Then they have to blog about the stories and about their day, and as
each new event happens, you must of course, Tweet.

What timing. Just today, a good friend who is editor of a sizeable
newspaper emailed the simple one line question of whether or not I
Twitter (she’s doing a survey, admitting she does)(Twitter).

The first time I even heard the word was when radio show host Hugh
Hewitt strongly urged the practice, saying he couldn’t imagine why
radio show hosts would not Twitter! It was effusive enough to
capture my attention, so I promptly sent my co-host and producer a
message saying we should check this out.

None of us had time. We sort of looked at it quickly, and thought….later.

Since then, Twitter and Tweet have become common vocabulary in daily
media reporting, to the point where I’m not only feeling far behind by
not having a Blackberry (that felt like a confession), but dare I admit
this is yet another frontier I haven’t crossed? This daring
investigative journalist who shrinks from no challenge, who was nearly
one of the first women sports reporters on television (if not for a
newsroom manager who wanted me in news) and burned to be what
Christiane Amanpour would only later become, before anyone in the world
ever heard of Christiane Amanpour…..?

No, Joyce, I presently do not Twitter. By the way, refresh my memory. What is Twitter again?

Well, for the benefit of you, and Michael Cook who says
he’s unsure of how it all works (Michael is so far behind me here, by
like three days), here is a quick run down.

Michael is behind no one on anything I’ve encountered yet, but I
trust that by the time of this post, he’ll be fully up to speed.

Blogs have been around long enough for most people to
know what they are, a sort of web based diary that you can use to post
random thoughts, full articles, rants or whatever you like.

Okay. For some of us, the blog can be an actual venue for serious
journalism, reporting and analysis not all that prevalent (or even
present) in the big, elite media. Some of us are grinding out the work
here that they don’t bother to do there anymore. But that leaves
precious little time for things like social networking.

Twitter takes the social aspect of Facebook, adds the short sentences of cell phone text messaging, and puts them together.

To form….what?

With Twitter you have 140 characters to express a
thought. That’s it. Hv u cn txt talk it’s like that….translation? –
have you seen text talk, it’s like that. Some can form a cohesive
thought without resorting to abbreviations, others cannot…Obviously,
Twitter is not a vehicle for great literature.

To say the least. Without abbreviation. 

Once you are on, you decide who to follow and others can
choose to follow you. The number of people following you and how many
you are following, is posted right there for all to see. It can be a
bit like high school; it is teen peer pressure brought to the adult
world.

Okay…friends, business associates, celebrities….you follow any or all categories. But my perennial question is….wherever do you find the time?!

Right now, I’m behind deadline on a story for MercatorNet on evolution….for crying out loud. And you’re already on the next thing in human communications technology.

Creation is an amazing thing.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....