I tweet, therefore I generate news - Curt Yeomans

In recent years, I have often been one of those early adapters, who takes to a web site before it becomes a big deal.

I've been on FaceBook for four years. I was going to YouTube as early as the summer of 2006, just as it was beginning to explode in popularity.

Last July, I also got my Twitter account, long before CNN's Rick Sanchez began having "national conversations" with his viewers on the web site.

But, Sanchez is only one example of how Twitter - which I once derided in a column as being annoying - is becoming more prevalent in our society. Once, I only rarely tweeted, but now I do it no fewer than every few weeks. Sometimes, I tweet a couple times a day, or a few times a week.

My tweets can be found at twitter.com/cfyeomans, by the way. If you see mention of "CND" or "HDH," it's just my Twitter/FaceBook lingo for "Clayton News Daily" and "Henry Daily Herald." In fact, you'll see it mentioned again in this column. It's kind of a hip little way that I have been referring to the newspapers lately.

But, that brings me to one of the key points of this column - Twitter has integrated itself into our everyday lives. This little web site, which only allows you to use 140 typing characters per tweet, is so integrated, it is quickly becoming a news source for society.

Leave it to journalists to develop a social networking web site's potential like no one else can. It's one of the things we do best, besides, you know, reporting the news and all that jazz.

I'll use the list of web sites I'm following on Twitter as an example of how the web site is being used to disseminate information. Through Twitter, I now follow the movements of news outlets, such as the Associated Press, CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Public Radio, and some newspaper up the road who shall not be named.

I also use the web site to follow education sources, including the Georgia Department of Education and the National Education Writers Association.

If you're wondering when the CND and HDH are going to show up on Twitter, all I can say is "I don't know." I haven't asked about it, and I have no intention to ask about it.

Twitter - at its best - is a tool that can be used to quickly disseminate brief little breaking news tidbits, while referring readers to the print edition of your newspaper for more depth and detail. You can also refer those followers who do not live in your circulation area to your newspaper's web site. Essentially, it's a way to inform others, and advertise your newspaper at the same time.

In early April, I came home from work very late one night, and used my personal Twitter account to direct people to a story I wrote about the Clayton County School System letting 19 employees go through a reduction in force. It was just the headline and link to the web site version of the story. That's about all you can post on Twitter.

Of course, I never told my bosses about that, but I guess they now know about it.

On the flip side of the news distributing function, Twitter, at its worst, can be used by people to tell the world they're surfing the internet, while doing such mundane and uninteresting, or disgusting things that nobody else would care about them.

No one I follow on the web site does that, but it is a possibility.

All in all, however, I guess Twitter isn't so annoying after all.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.