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Twitter Me This, Twitter Me That

What is your best friend doing? What is Shaquille O’Neil doing? What is Sony doing? What is everyone doing?

To find these answers, look no further than the social networking site Twitter, which captures every member’s thoughts and actions, 140 characters at a time.

(UWire) What is your best friend doing? What is Shaquille O’Neil doing? What is Sony doing? What is everyone doing?

To find these answers, look no further than the social networking site Twitter, which captures every member’s thoughts and actions, 140 characters at a time.

I was unaware of the impact Twitter was having on our culture until a few weeks ago, because I found the site unnecessary and ridiculous, so I effortlessly blocked it out of my mind. Then I read a story about how Shaquille O’Neil, posting under the name “THE_REAL_SHAQ,” was updating his Twitter status during one of his basketball games while playing for the Phoenix Suns. So in case you were unaware, because I was, everyone is on Twitter.

It’s not just a social thing. Last week, Sony released a new poster for its summer 2009 blockbuster release “Angels and Demons” on Twitter. And you know what? I can’t blame them, because that’s where everyone is. Blogs are so 2007.

Look, I love AOL Instant Messenger, text just as much as the next guy, and enjoy spending a few minutes on Facebook every day, but do I really need to know what my friends and family are doing or thinking every second of the day? I don’t think so.

Even the aforementioned Facebook has fallen into the trap and become Twitterized. Look, I just turned Twitter into an adjective. Let me tell you right now that any time a person or company’s name is used as an adjective it is almost always with bad connotation. Facebook’s latest updates are far too similar to Twitter, and in trying to compete and hold its share in the social network market, it has hurt the look and feel of the site.

So maybe you agree with me that it’s a little annoying, but in the end is it really a big deal? It probably seems like just another harmless way to kill time when you could be doing something else more productive. It could be. Or it could keep growing in popularity and fall victim to people taking advantage of this cultural obsession.

For instance, with more and more famous people Twittering, it’s well within the realm of possibility in the near future that companies start paying celebrities on Twitter to post certain thoughts and actions as a form of advertising. For example, if Sony might approach LeBron James and offered him a large amount of money to post this status on Twitter: “LeBron James is hanging out and playing Sony Playstation 3.”

LeBron James would be crazy to turn down money for doing absolutely nothing while Sony gains instant publicity from the thousands of people following what LeBron is “doing.” Now odds are that James is not actually playing Playstation – more likely he’s making a Nike commercial or winning basketball games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but no one would ever know. And that’s the problem. In this competitive business environment, the ethical boundaries are stretched to the limits, consumers are deceived and in the end are the ones who suffer.

Even worse than deception, a child predator could find out what a neighborhood kid is doing based on his mother’s status, or even the child’s. Yes it’s disturbing, but I’m just saying, it could happen.

Whether you are a fan of Twitter or, like me, would like to send the site to cyberspace oblivion, beware what the site has become and where it could go in the future. As Tweeters continue to be immersed in what their family, close friends or that guy they met at the bar two years ago are doing, I will be sitting on the social network sideline for this one and watching where it goes. No need to keep me updated.

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