Tweet. Tweet, tweet.
No, I am not trying out for a part as a bird in an upcoming theater production - I'm using Twitter. And, like many of my peers, I've become what's known as a "tweeter."
So, what exactly is this Twitter thing that all the kids are tweeting about?
"Twitter is a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages," according to information posted on Twitter's Web site, www.twitter.com.
"People write short updates, often called 'tweets,' of 140 characters or fewer. These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search," the Web site states.
To those who know Facebook, it is a constant stream of status updates. It is similar to the forum sites where people discuss topics, but the responses aren't always visible to all viewers.
Tweeters write about things they are doing. Updates such as "Out to lunch with the parents;" "Going to take a shower;" "Can you believe President Obama said that?!?" are just a few examples.
Users can respond to other tweeters' updates, post links to sites they like, follow their favorite celebrities and even win prizes with such Twitter users as @tweetcontest. (The @ symbol is a must to let others know this is your official username.)
It is as simple as creating a username and typing out what you feel in 140 characters. Constant updating is a must. And it's as easy as logging on to the Internet or updating your mobile phone.
Which begs the question: Should the upcoming generation be described as tech creative, obsessed with the Web, or just plain nosy?
I remember a time when I actually had to call my friends just to see what they've been up to and I would spend hours on my parents' landline (sometimes without call waiting!) getting updated on their lives.
Now, these types of phone conversations are awkward at best. It's much easier to look at Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other Web sites to not only get the latest scoop on your friends, but specifically where they went, with whom, what they bought and ate, etc. It usually comes with a play-by-play and photos to match.
Life has officially become ESPN - cue the sportscaster voice: "Bethany considers the tuna, but now she's eyeing the ham and swiss. She makes her way through the line, and reaches for the ham, but wait - OH! She chooses the tuna. Mmm, that is tasty."
When you live across the country from loved ones and you barely have time to eat dinner at night, let alone make two-hour phone calls, these types of Web programs are helpful. My family can see that I am happy, healthy, actually doing something on weekends and beginning to settle into adult life. This type of interaction may seem strange to older generations who didn't grow up with the Internet, e-mail and instant messaging. But to us "youngsters," we feel just as connected to family and friends, if not more.
Twitter allows me to see up-to-the-minute information on others, similar to how the live stream on CNN.com and MSNBC.com has become. And not only that, I also can comment on my friends' updates and link articles or photos as responses - becoming a part of their lives regardless if they live down the street or across the ocean.
Sentinel City Editor Bethany Fehlinger can be reached at 248-6741, ext. 117, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.