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a more mobile, transparent web: on crackberries and twittering

over the past few months, the ways in which i interact with the internet have undergone a dramatic shift- one i attribute chiefly to the introduction of twitter and my new blackberry storm, which now looks like this:

Blackberry smash!! and i thought they were supposed to be really hard to break! i had avoided acquiring a fancy mobile device for precisely this reason, as i am exceptionally talented at destruction and chaos. thankfully, the insurance on this baby means i get a brand new storm for just $50 – which pays for itself, considering that I’ve now acquired an additional media card and battery.

no, i don’t know how it happened. i keep it in a holster on my hip, so the only thing i could think of was that i smashed it with my (admittedly rather pointy) elbow…

i had feared becoming a total crackberry addict, but it actually hasn’t been overly demanding. it vibrates when i receive an email, text message, or phone call, and i use it primarily to get directions, do my email on the subway, and to check twitter at various points throughout my day.

Twitter has become my primary source of news and entertainment. i don’t follow many people, but those i do are always interesting. in addition, it enables me to become a citizen journalist in my own right. the other day, i was running a dog along the chelsea piers when that plane landed miraculously and gracefully on the hudson. no, i didn’t see it personally, but it was impossible not to notice when the west side highway fast became populated with flashing lights and sirens. it seemed like every cop car and ambulance in the city had raced to the scene. my fingers itched for my blackberry, which had sadly been busted just the day prior. i raced home to tweet about it. that was actually the first impulse i had.

the smartmobs blog has been posting a lot of stories about twitter lately. this post talks about how twitter kept the city of toronto informed and connected when the power went out on a bitterly cold night, and this one discusses how the UK is starting to use twitter to promote transparency between citizens and their elected representatives.

I downloaded an interesting case study of Twitter last month: Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope. The researchers conclude by contradicting the common claim that examining online social networks implies a definite bond between connections. In the case of Twitter, those you follow and those who follow you often don’t sync up. I don’t use Twitter to keep in touch with my friends, I use it for functions that are quite distinct from one another: personal broadcasting and personal preference in the kinds of information i enjoy consuming in bite-size pieces.

My favorite twitterers? Howard Rheingold (who runs the Smart Mobs blog and tweets regularly about his digital journalism class and social media in the classroom) and John Maeda (president of RISD and producer of amazingly profound aphorisms).sign up and follow me! 😉