My twitter news network

There are always those seminal events in your life.  Those things that you remember.  For me given my apparently long, long life (thanks Norman Thurecht – ‘you’re on the cusp of Gen X aren’t you?’ – hmmm, if making the cut off by at least 5 years is cuspy thank you very much!), I can remember some pretty major things:

  • US bombed a Libyan nuclear power plant in 1985 (I think)
  • US invaded Iraq Mk1
  • Princess Diana’s death in 1997
  • September 11
  • US invaded Iraq Mk2
  • Obama announced who his running mate was going to be (well OK not the major event but the US hasn’t invaded anybody lately).

I think it’s interesting to consider how I found out about these.  I remember I found out about the bombing of Libya (we all thought it meant nuclear war) while playing handball near the science labs at school (we weren’t supposed to but what can I say, we were rebels).  A friend proudly announced that it had happened about 12 hours ago and that she’d read it in the paper.  Source:  chinese whispers (maybe I didn’t have much of a network when I was 15).

I remember the declaration of war in Iraq Mk1 – I was getting my hair cut in a barber shop in 1991 and heard it on the radio they had playing.

For the death of Princess Diana I overheard someone mention it while we were at the Buderim Ginger Factory (my first and only visit thanks very much) who probably heard it on the radio.

September 11 – I was home alone and saw the news the next morning on television.  It took me about half an hour of watching endless replays before I realised both towers had come down.

The Mk2 invasion of Iraq I learned by browsing on WAP from my mobile phone to I think the Optus news site.

And Obama’s announcement of VP?  Although it’s not up there with the most earth-shattering events (the US hasn’t bombed or invaded anybody lately to my knowledge), I found out about this through Twitter (mostly seeing tweets from Shannon Nelson of a Girl’s Gotta Spa), sitting on the lounge while watching the most awful movie ever, ‘The Avengers’.  Well, maybe not the most awful – Weekend at Bernie’s 2 is apparently pretty bad, but I’ve never watched it (footnote: my favourite movie review line ever, I think, by Martin Scribbs of the Low IQ Canadian:  ‘Biting down on the cyanide capsule my editors had provided me, I was bitterly disappointed to find it was a dud. Sweet death, how I have longed for you!’). 

So – it shows how time marches on – Chinese whispers, radio, chinese whispers again, television, WAP and then Twitter.  I keep using Twitter, sometimes it’s annoying and a distraction but I keep getting useful things out of it and it helps me maintain relationships on a fly in/fly out basis.  I can watch someone’s tweets, they don’t have to hear from me, and while I can go back in time, I don’t feel compelled to.

Twitter’s unreliable, it’s inconsistent, it’s brain-dead and silly.  But it does something really valuable – it keeps me connected with many different people, and isn’t demanding of time and thought.  It’s not perfect, and it’s not the ultimate in human to human interaction, but I get more out of it than I ever thought I would.

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