KELLY: Succumbing to Twittering

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JackI have long been a Twitter hater.

I never saw the merit in updating the world of my whereabouts in 140-character bursts.

I thought notifying people of what I was doing was slightly less inane than the baseball umpires this postseason.

But this summer, I finally gave in. Against my better judgment, I took the plunge and signed up for Twitter.

And I have to say, a few months in, I think it’s pretty cool.

Wait! Before you stop reading, hear me out. I’m going to try to dispel the stigma of self-importance and egocentricity surrounding Twitter.

I first used Twitter at my summer job. I had to update the company’s Twitter feed, posting links to articles on its Web site.

Logging on to its feed, I noticed — pretty much by accident — that Twitter actually did have something to offer. So I joined.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat writers were my first follows. I had up-to-the-second access to injury reports, lineups and quotes.

Once the manager filled out the lineup card, I had it within seconds. If a trade went down, it was posted to Twitter in a heartbeat.

Long gone are the days of waiting for the next day’s paper to read about my teams. But with Twitter, I don’t even have to wait until an article is written, edited and published online. It’s instant access, in its most literal sense.

I started to follow more people. I slowly added comedians, athletes, writers and musicians I liked.

Then came friends and classmates. Soon enough, I was a full-fledged tweeter.

Of course, like anything available to the masses, Twitter is saturated with uninformative, useless or just plain stupid tweets.

Bozos rabble on mindlessly under the delusion that someone cares how cold they think it is outside.

Case in point: I follow Brittany Favre.

I’m ashamed to admit this. I don’t even consider myself a Favre fan, but every time No. 4’s college-age daughter posts what snack she’s fixing or how boring class is, I’m notified.

The most ridiculous tweet I’ve seen is from pro football player Chad Ocho Cinco, about Michael Jackson’s death: “Okay, first Mrs. Fawcett, now Mr. Jackson, please tell me that this is a mistaken rumor, if not this is just as sad as 9/11.”

I don’t even have a joke to go here.

But I still believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. You make the Twitter experience your own, receiving updates from only those you choose, and choosing who sees your updates.

Lately I’ve noticed more and more students starting to tweet.

Passing along links, sharing a song they’re listening to, or just making fun of each other — stuff that can be done quickly and doesn’t quite require a Facebook posting.

There are more constructive uses, too.

People I know are using Twitter to promote their business, keep in touch with friends in other cities and as amateur comedians using the space as a sounding board for one-liners.

No matter your feelings, Twitter isn’t going anywhere.

Facebook even recently revamped its front page to more closely resemble Twitter.

If you haven’t given it a shot, I suggest you do. Find some public figures you’re interested in and follow them.

You’ll be surprised what you can learn. Maybe get some friends together and see what comes out of linking each other to stuff online.

If you don’t like it, no big deal. It’s not for everyone.

But then again, you’ll never know that Taylor Swift is baking some totally delicious cookies right now.

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