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My embrace of 140 words

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I have never been a technophobe. I’ve helped this company leap forward into new and at times confusing production software twice, I’ve had a personal computer since 1981 and I once had a blog when the Times had none. So I was easily convinced when colleagues told me “You need a Twitter account.” Almost as quick as the blink of an eye, I’ve become a tweeter.

Twitter has evolved considerably in the past couple of years. I’ve found colleagues who leaped into the Twitter world a couple years ago, only to post eight or ten times in the first eager days and thence to tweet no more. In that time, though, Twitter has become meatier than a tweet about where you’re going to meet for drinks or how sweet your downstairs neighbor is (watch it — she might be reading you!). Twitter was a major factor in the Arab spring movement, and people have used Twitter to chronicle, in real time, major news events such as natural and man-made disasters. Our sports staff uses it to keep followers up-to-the-minute on important games. Its instantaneous nature is hard to beat for anything but live TV — and live TV can’t always get where a smart phone can.

I hope to use my Twitter account to give readers a little extra, a sort of instant commentary on the news. I’m hoping that if you go to Twitter and check @kentsboss, or just look for Perry White, you’ll find something that will either be enlightening or entertaining. You will note that I don’t yet have many posts. And that is because, as I’ve started using the site, I’ve discovered that using Twitter while tethered to a computer is — well, less than optimal. I think of a lot of funny things about the news when I’m nowhere near a computer. And I hear a lot of newsworthy things when I’m a long way from my home Mac or my office PC. Unfortunately, you cannot shout a tweet — you have to log onto the site. And the place I find myself most technologically bereft is in my cell phone experience. Not only do I not have a smart phone, the cell phone I have now is a dithering idiot. It has fewer features than my dad’s old 1957 Packard.

I am going to have to work around the cell phone deficiency at least until I find myself in need of a new phone. I’m too frugal to simply dump the tragically unhip Nokia flip phone I’m using now. It works, it gets the job done, it’s paid for. But given my cell phone history, that could change in a hurry. I’ve lost cell phones to public parking lots (once), broken hinges (once) and “I’m sorry sir, that model battery is no longer in production” (twice). The next cell phone disaster is going to take me into the happy world of smart phones.

Then I can tweet from anywhere. Anytime. Woo-hoo!

Of course, the 140 character limit on tweets will be a challenge. But as an editor, I’m inherently more prepared than a reporter to trim the fat. While the 140 character lilmit cuts well into the lean, there’s no rule against back-to-back posts. And if I’m doing it right, I’ll frequently be whetting your appetite for more, and sending you to a place where you can feed on information.

So join me in the land of tweets. You’ll probably find a surprising number of your friends there. You’ll find the Watertown Daily Times there. We can have a party!

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