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How Tweet It Is 

burstiner Poor Tweety Bird. A friend came down to breakfast wearing a Tweety Bird T-Shirt. It said Tweet! I thought it was her attempt at hipness. (5:00 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Silly me. T-shirts are old tech. It was retro. It didn't refer to Twitter, the Web site that turns text messages into deep thoughts. (5:05 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner These days, everyone who is anyone Twitters. Obama Twitters. Oprah Twitters. Even Owen Wilson Twitters. (5:45 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner To Twitter, you write in short bursts. No more than 140 characters including spaces. You do it on Twitter.com or on your cell phone. 5:55 AM May 4th from mobile web

burstiner The bursts of brilliance are called Tweets. People can follow your Tweets on Twitter or on their cell phone. (6:00 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner I opened a Twitter account a while ago but never Tweeted. My friend with the Tweet As Can Be shirt decided to follow me. (6:05 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner With an actual follower I now felt obliged to Tweet. I asked her to de-follow me. (6:10 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Humboldt isn't the hippest place. Here many people are still on dial-up modems. But Those-Who-Would-Be-Hip here Twitter. (6:12 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner KHUM disc jockey extraordinaire Mike Dronkers Twitters. Former Arcata Mayor Harmony Groves has 18 followers on Twitter. (6:15 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Oh yeah, Hank Sims wants me to note that the North Coast Journal has 105 followers. (6:17 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Big celebs, of course, don't do their own Twittering. They hire people to do ghost Tweets. Note to students: There's a job possibility!... ;) (6:25 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner HSU last month hosted a Tweet-Up. That's a real-world gathering of people who only communicate through Twitter. There was pizza. (6:30 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner I assigned the Tweet-Up to my mass media class. Few showed. Some couldn't figure out how to Tweet. The consensus: It is really stupid. (6:35 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner My friend who Twitters pointed out that some Tweets are witty and funny. Then she tried to find me a witty Tweet but couldn't. (6:40 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner She admitted that most Tweets are ridiculous and lame. How did she put it? "They are moronic comments about people's idle thoughts." (6:45 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner The question is this: Can you turn the supershort form into art or at least a meaningful form of communication? (6:50 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Browsing through Twitter.com is a journey through stream of consciousness. It's the stuff people think when on line at Starbucks. (6:55 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner But an old colleague once told me that I shouldn't fight format. I now appreciate the short form. (7:00 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner People read the briefs in newspapers more than they do the front page stories. A good news brief packs a lot of information. (7:05 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner There is no law that says a Tweet must be a random thought. Forcing connected thoughts into short bursts requires focus. (7:10 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner I wanted to see if Bob Dylan Twitters and it turns out he does! No, it is just a promotion vehicle to update me on new Dylan news. (7:20 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner I can't imagine Dylan capable of a moronic thought. When he Tweets for real I will follow. Maybe not. Who's got that much time? (7:25 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner As Harmony Groves Tweeted recently: "Wondering if I really need Twitter AND facebook AND myspace, I'm just not that cool." (7:30 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Or as my one Twitter follower put it: "Twitter is just one more thing for me to be behind on." (7:35 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner The real art here is that to Twitter this column and have people read it online, I'd have to write the whole thing backwards. (7:40 AM May 4th from mobile web)

burstiner Next month, I will try to write this whole column as a palindrome. (7:45 AM May 4th from mobile web)

Marcy Burstiner is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at Humboldt State University. She made a mistake in a recent column. Last month she said the first five stories the Times-Standard did on the Humboldt Creamery were about 1,600 words combined. But T-S folks said that the first story they did was 878 words long plus a side info box. Perhaps keeping thoughts to 140-character bursts will leave no room for future errors.

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About The Author

Marcy Burstiner

Bio:
Marcy Burstiner is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at Humboldt State University. If there's something about the media that confuses you, e-mail her at mib3@humboldt.edu.

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