Apr 20, 2009 by Lee Hart

Are you socially connected?

Have
you been Tweeting today? I feel like I’m in an episode of Star Wars and I have
just gone over to the Dark Side. Yes, I joined Twitter and I have Tweeted.

As
much as I scoffed at the notion of becoming involved in ‘social networking’, I
have been compelled to check out this Twitter business. What is it and why is
it important to me? I can’t answer either question yet, but I signed up and not
only did I send a Tweet, but I got my first Tweet back from Lori Creech a
colleague who works at Alberta Beef Producers. Thank you Lori…I now feel like a
human being.

If
you thought email was contemporary, get with the times. Twitter is part of a
community of social networking web sites like Facebook. You go to the Twitter
internet website, sign up or register (for free) and within seconds you can let
the whole socially connected world know what you are doing that minute.
Important stuff like –  I am just
sitting here having a coffee, I am writing this note rather than working, I am
enjoying a nice sunny day, I am picking my nose. – these are all useful
insights into my daily life my friends in cyberspace have been waiting to read.
If you are Barack Obama you could use Twitter to let the world know you have
declared war on Iceland. It doesn’t have to be just a trite update on how big
the pimple is on your left cheek.

Why
is this important? I don’t know. I just know it is the way the world is going.
It is a free social networking and micro-blogging service. If you are reading
this you are reading my blog and while blogs are supposed to be short or
shorter, Twitter messages are very limited. When you Tweet (which is what they
call a Twitter message) they are limited to 140 characters, which is about 30
words which is roughly the length of the first paragraph I used to start this
blog. That’s all you get. But you can log on as often as you want in a day and
tell people what you are up to at that moment.

Who
cares? My friends do. I am now part of a network of roughly five million people
world wide and interest in Twitter over the last couple years has grown – get
this – it has grown by roughly 1382 percent. Facebook on the other hand is
dragging its butt with growth of only 228 percent.

Who
else is on Twitter? Pretty well anyone who is anybody. Politicians,
entertainment celebrities, The Queen and The Pope (not that I really know, but
I threw them in). But in the first couple minutes I was on Twitter I found
several people I know. Janet Kanters with the Beef Information Centre, Shaun
Haney a farmer and columnist for Grainews from Picture Butte AB, Lori Creech, and
even my old Country Guide Magazine buddy Peter Gredig from St. Thomas Ontario
is now Tweeting. And I now know what these and other people were doing the
moment they Tweeted.

It
is very empowering.

I
remember about 25 years ago when I worked for Alberta Agriculture, I came to
work one day to find people huddle around this new high tech piece of equipment
called a facsimile machine. And I thought ‘oh for cripes sake, how many people
are going to use this?” 

See
what kind of vision I had then? Well I’m not going to be caught with my cyber pants
down again as a late blooming Twitterer. I’m up near the front of this wave with five
million other socially connected folks. And right now I am feeling pretty Phat.
(that could be a misspelling for someone who has to lose a few pounds, but in
this case I thought I would really get hip and contemporary. Phat is a slang term
used by my bros from the ‘hood to describe someone who is entertaining,
intelligent and attractive. What can I say – if the shoe fits.)

I also know if a producer is reading this blog before he rushes off to process calves before turn out onto pasture, or is trying
to get the air seeder ready for seeding season, he or she is probably thinking
here is an old fart with way too much time on his hands.

But, I don’t care because I’m Phat. And you can take that
any way you want.

So Tweet me.

-30-

Lee Hart

Lee Hart


Lee Hart is a long-time farm writer, and honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, with many observations on the agriculture industry, who never hesitates to admit he is wrong (should that ever happen.)


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2 Comments

  • I was pushed and shoved into Twitter; but you have to play to keep up with the big boys! I still prefer the telephone. Got a ‘beef’? CALL me! 🙂 (and that last little thingy there is a ‘smiley’ face, for the uninitiated)

  • Lee, what is your @_____ on twitter. I really enjoyed the post. Twitter is something best experienced and not well explained. Once people get used to using twitter I would recommend that they download twitterberry for their blackberry and use Tweetdeck on their desktop computer. See you on twitter!!!