'I want to tweet to my heart's content'

Hi, my name is Lloyd and I am a tweetaholic. About two years ago, my business editor asked me to write a piece on Twitter for a regular feature we ran at the time called Digital Life.

The aim of the series was to look at how technology affected people’s lives, how they interacted with it and how it made their lives better.

At the time Facebook was at its peak and I had friendship requests flying in from aunts, uncles, cousins and long-lost friends, some of whom I wished had stayed lost.

So, in the middle of my social networking honeymoon, I jumped at the opportunity to write about a new application.

But my enthusiasm soon waned as I discovered that Twitter was just Facebook-lite. I didn’t get it.

Why would you want a social networking tool without all the functionality?

Facebook reminded me when my friends’ birthdays were, allowed me to see how drunk my friends were on Saturday night and, as a music journalist, organised my busy gig-watching schedule for me.

After a week, I reported back to my editor that Twitter was a half-assed social networking tool and did not warrant our coveted column inches. ‘But you can update it from your phone,” my editor argued. ‘Who on earth would want to do that?” was my reply. Oh, how wrong I was.

Fast forward to 2009. After discovering that a number of my friends were using Twitter regularly, I reactivated my account and began tweeting. All of a sudden it hit me.

There was nothing half-assed about Twitter at all; it stripped away all the crap that made Facebook such a draining experience and just left the bare essentials. What I was actually looking at was an incredible filtering tool.

Unlike Facebook, on which people try to accumulate as many friends as possible, Twitter was about streamlining the people you follow, to achieve an efficient source of information and comment.

All of a sudden I was staying informed by Twitter, picking up story ideas, networking with potential sources and still managing to use it to meet my mate down the pub for a Guinness.

The other day I watched and followed a bomb-scare evacuation of media company Avusa’s Johannesburg offices using Twitter and Twitpic, because a friend documented the whole thing using his phone.

Then there was our planned trip to attend the Bushfire Festival in Swaziland, where I brought my old expired passport instead of my new one.

I was the laughing stock of all my friends before we had even returned to Johannesburg because my girlfriend had been tweeting the whole episode.

Now I am staring at my entry-level Nokia phone with a feeling of impotence. It’s time to join the smart-phone generation. I want to tweet to my heart’s content.

Lloyd Gedye

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