Twitter has been out a few years now. It was considered the darling of the Ruby on Rails crowd since it was a big popular application. Since then, Twitter has blamed ROR for scalability issues, accusations they once said were not the fault of ROR, but now the claim are. Indeed, there is a push to rewrite Twitter in Scala, a competitor to Groovy, which is a functional language built on the JVM. I had heard of Scala even before Twitter (or Groovy), but I digress.
For a long time, I did nothing with my Twitter account. I didn't get microblogging. I didn't have anything I wanted to post that frequently. I had no big reason to use it.
But that changed a few months ago, when Twitter hit a tipping point. Some people point to, oh, maybe 2005 SXSW, the music, technology, who-knows-what event that's held in Austin, TX (the city that is weird and wants to stay that way) when numerous attendees jumped on the Twitter bandwagon and brought Twitter to a screeching halt until they figured out how to deal with so many new Twits (TM).
That wasn't it. Twitter really took off when athletes and celebrities started using Twitter. Most surprisingly (but probably not), Shaquille O'Neal started tweeting. Indeed, he once announced he was at a restaurant and some nearby geeks saw him online and asked if they could come by, and he said yes. They got a picture with him.
Shaq is such a ham.
He's not the only athlete. In tennis, world number 4 player (and possibly going to be world number 3) Andy Murray is on Twitter. He shows a playful side. He and his "Team Murray" play footy-tennis, some combination of soccer and tennis and losers of the challenge often wear clothes inside out or women's clothing to public places such as dinner. He'll mention his tickets to see the Miami Heat, or practicing with a fellow pro, or a recent tennis result, or playing a "brain game". Not something you imagine Roger Federer (too classy) or Rafael Nadal (English not good enough) to do.
Of course, the Internet has always spawned its own lesser-known celebrities, thus, a Gabe Rivera of TechMeme fame might tweet with Mike Arrington of TechCrunch fame. Although Twitter didn't originally support "chatting" with someone else, people refer to one another by their Twitter name prefaced with an "@" sign, as in @gaberivera.
But certainly, it was enough to push it into national consciousness when Mike and Mike in the morning refer to Facebook and Twitter and when the venerable Diane Rehm now has people contacting her via Twitter. She probably doesn't exactly get it either, but her producers, I'm sure, help her through this technological wonderland.
So where I used to use Twitter sparingly, I now check into it daily. I have the every garrulous Wil Wheaton that I follow who posts like 10 tweets a day (most people manage 1-2 a day) or more. Brent Spiner is also on that list. I haven't yet added Levar Burton.
I follow Carl Lerche, a guy I saw at RubyRx. I probably should add Jared Richardson, but I don't have his tweety address.
And there you have it. When did it happen? Maybe 6 months ago? It's interesting how the NBA has probably encouraged its leading stars to embrace technology. Most players already have smartphones and laptops they bring everywhere to keep them connected to their fans. Gilbert Arenas had his blog and now Shaq twitters.
What on Earth will happen next?
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