Can someone explain the appeal of Twitter to me? I’ve been confused for months now.

Wait, maybe first I should tell you about Twitter as I understand it. It’s a Web site that is essentially made up of something like Facebook status updates. You register and make your user ID. Then you start updating as you please, as long as you keep it to less than 140 characters. Technically, it’s called micro-blogging, which is, as the name suggests, a mini-version of blogs that are usually less than 200 characters. You can search for and follow friends, which means that you will see every one of their updates, or tweets, on your Twitter homepage. You can also download an application for your CrackBerry or iPhone or a Web application that will send an alert to you every time one of your friends tweets.

And that’s it. You see why I’m confused about its popularity. I’ve done my fair share of research about Twitter in an effort to better understand it. Twitter in Plain English
explains that because people are interested in the little things that happen in their friends’ lives – walking the dog, mowing the lawn, drinking a glass of wine-they’d like to know about all updates, even the mundane ones. But sending an e-mail that says, “Hey, everyone, I’m writing a paper!” is lame; instead, you’d write about it on Twitter.

Okay, so keeping up with friends is all well and good, but who really cares? I’m still not sure why a program that lets me see my friends’ stupid updates would be so popular. Oh, wait. Recently, a Berkeley journalism grad student who was arrested in Turkey used Twitter to get out of jail. He sent out a tweet – ARRESTED – and immediately friends in both Turkey and the U.S. called the authorities to get him released.

Twitter also won an award at South by Southwest 2007 in the “Blog” category. So I guess tech nerds think it’s cool. But I think that must be because all of their other tech friends twitter, so they can follow people they actually know. Sucks for me, because I’m not friends with enough computer geeks. I suppose I’ll have to ask my friends about their day via more traditional means – the text message.

Improve my Twitter life- follow me!

p.s. I’m headed out of town this weekend, so I won’t have a Monday update. Don’t miss me too much. Maybe you can use those extra five minutes to read about something that’s actually important!