[Boston Globe writers were asked to comment on a notable word from the political and cultural whirlwinds of 2010. My brief thoughts on "retweet" appear below. To read my colleagues' thoughts on "primaried," "Snooki," "refudiate," "bedbugs," and more, click here.]
I DON'T OWN an iPod or an iPad. I've never used TiVo or Wii. I haven't got GPS in my car, Blu-Ray in my living room, or a smartphone in my pocket.
It may seem odd that an "urban Amish" type like me has embraced Twitter, but I'm hardly alone in finding value in the ultrabrief bursts of information -- tweets and retweets -- that Twitterers share. Back in January, there were around 75 million Twitter users. Twelve months later -- thanks in part to Tiger Woods, the Dalai Lama, and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, all of whom joined Twitter in 2010 -- that number is at 175 million, and climbing.
Senator Harry Reid uses Twitter to send messages to Lady Gaga. Thomas Friedman believes that the revolution will be Twittered. Not me. I like Twitter because it enables me to comment on topics that are worth an observation but not a column.
Because even a short wade in the Twitter stream serendipitously leads me to interesting places I might never otherwise have encountered.
Because Twitter is like a crowded global bulletin board on which I can read messages from an unparalleled diversity of users.
And -- best of all -- because all of it happens in 140 characters or fewer.
On Twitter, brevity is the soul of wit -- and of everything else. In a world of endless e-blather and information overload, such digital terseness is just too good to pass up. Even for someone as low-tech as me.
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.)
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