Opinion

Commentary: Let the Twitter backlash begin

In our high-speed roadrunner world, you barely have time to lay an egg before someone tries to crack it.

So it goes with the instant messaging service Twitter.

Fifteen minutes ago it was the next new thing, the supercool cock of the high-tech walk. Now snarky Web sites, prestigious newspapers and even Doonesbury are pecking away, depicting the 4 million to 6 million users it has attracted since 2006 as navel-gazing birdbrains. This flapdoodle already has a name: the Twitter backlash.

Splat!

Twitter may be twaddle. But it also represents a milestone in human communication.

Twitter is a free online service that allows people to send out short messages, called Tweets.

News organizations use it to send news bulletins to subscribers – car wreck on I-40, six dead in a plane crash.

Celebrities such as Shaquille O'Neal and "Meet the Press" host David Gregory send regular Tweets to their peeps.

Not surprisingly, President Obama reigns as the King of the Twits, with hundreds of thousands of people signed up to receive his blasts.

Concision is key. Tweets can have a maximum of 140 characters (20 seven-letter words). If brevity is the soul of wit, Twitterers must be a cross between Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain.

Only they aren't.

To read the complete column, visit www.newsobserver.com.

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