Twitter is the current digital rage

As an aside before delving into this column, I?d like to forewarn any readers that I am currently sleep deprived and highly, highly caffeinated.

Not the best combination. My body is lethargic and motionless, but my brain is in overdrive. My thoughts will likely be strange and random, but as I slug down my sixth cup of coffee, I?m feeling quite amused.

So I?m sitting in Starbucks, procrastinating various school assignments, and my phone is blowing up with updates from Twitter.

I?m a fairly new citizen to the world of Twitter, having long been in a monogamous social media relationship with Facebook. However, Twitter?s influence seems to have finally reached North Park?s campus and I?ve decided to see if it lives up to the hype.

For those who have no idea what I?m talking about, Twitter is a social media website where users engage in micro blogging. That is, people share their sassy comments, jokes, music, pictures or random musings in 140-character text updates.

Tweets function much like Facebook stati (that is my favorite way to plural words), with the main difference being that it?s socially acceptable to tweet dozens of times each day, but ?blowing up? people?s news feeds with multiple Facebook stati is typically frowned upon.

Because my mind is thinking of 244,563 things at once and I?m having incredible trouble articulating my thoughts, I am going to continue this discussion in list form. (Random fact about myself: I adore lists).

Things I love about Twitter:

1. The cool news feed. One?s Twitter can be updated either on the computer or by phone, through the use of a Web application or, for those of us without smart phones (?dumb phones?), via text message.

Twitter?s news feed contains live updates from the people you follow (Twitter?s version of ?friending?), so there is always a wide variety of interesting stuff to check out. I follow various newspapers and celebrities who always post links to articles and videos that provide me with endless opportunities for procrastination.

2. Hashtags. These babies are my absolute favorite thing about Twitter. A hashtag includes the number symbol (#) followed by a word/phrase with no punctuation, and is used to categorize tweets. Hashtags appear as links, so clicking on them brings up pages full of tweets with the same hashtags.

Examples:

Last weekend, one of my friends tweeted: What do the GOP and video gamers have in common? They both prefer to hit the ?off? switch when they realize they?re losing?#govtshutdown

I clicked on ?#govtshutdown? and saw that on April 8, the Washington Post tweeted: It?s done: #govtshutdown averted. House and Senate both approved stopgap spending bill.

See? Twitter is both educational and humorous!

3. Sassy comments. One can use hashtags for informational purposes, as demonstrated above, or to be funny or smart alec-ey. Some hashtagged tweets actually make me burst out laughing, especially if I know the person in real life and understand the tone they?re using to hashtag. Some real life examples are shown below:

Ugh, taxes:

Uhhh?so I should probably do my taxes now, right? #hotmess

On a particularly cloudy ?spring? day in Chicago:

I am going to have to revert to screaming Barney?s ?Mr. Sun? song every morning at the sky soon. #comeon #whereareyousun #alsowhereisspring

And, on the cancellation of various stuff:

I heard that if the NFL has a lockout they are going to show 3 hour long games of ?don?t let the balloon hit the ground? #fingerscrossed

And, finally:

No football. No government. No Jersey Shore. No Glenn Beck. I guess #americaiscanceled

I will give credit where credit is due: @milesabramson and @helen_boggess supplied me with a majority of these tweets.

They both say interesting things, and you should follow them.

They?re #simplythebest.