You can’t read or watch a major news story these days without reference to Twitter, the social networking tool that allows users to broadcast “Tweets” in 140 characters or less. That’s 140 characters – not words – including spaces and punctuation. If nothing else, Twitter teaches economy in writing. But Twitter is much more than that. When it first launched, it was widely disparaged with comments like “Who cares what I had for lunch?” Today, every major figure in politics, sports, the media and entertainment has a Twitter account that is used in different ways.
It has long been my belief that Twitter can be a valuable tool at the community level for a wide range of purposes: sharing news and information, organizing activities, establishing and strengthening virtual relationships that supplement real-world contacts. Like most new technology, the technology (i.e., Twitter) is available long before people figure out the best way to use it. From what I can tell, no one has yet figured out how to maximize it’s use at the local level. To paraphrase Bluto in Animal House, “we’re just the guys to do it.”
To this end, the Outreach Committee of Lowell Telecommunications Corporation (LTC – Lowell’s local cable access company) has organized a Tweet-N-Greet at LTC’s headquarters (246 Market Street, Lowell – next to the National Park Visitors Center) on Saturday, March 3 from 10 am to noon. This will be an informal gathering rather than a lecture and it will be suitable for everyone, for the non-technical person curious about the basics of Twitter to the power Tweeter who wants to chat with like-users. We will use the LTC computer lab to assist those who want to establish their own Twitter accounts and will have a unique hashtag for the event and display the collected Tweets in real time on a big screen TV (and if you don’t know what a “hashtag” is, see you on March 3).
Beyond Twitter, this gathering will also serve as another of our very successful blogger meet-ups which we’ve held in the past at Elliot’s Hot Dogs, Top Donut and Gary’s Ice Cream, so it provides an opportunity for bloggers, commenters, social media users and info consumers of all types to come together on a Saturday morning to socialize. Tours of LTC’s newly renovated studios and space will also be available to anyone who is interested. If you have any questions about this event, leave a comment or email me at DickHoweJr[at]gmail.com.