When I entered the world of Twitter a couple of weeks ago, my colleagues at the newspaper dubbed it an Internet milestone.
Calling it a milestone is over the top. They should realize that people who remember party lines, dial phones and manual typewriters don't move as fast as those born in the digital age -- especially those of us who only recently discovered Facebook and YouTube.
I had actually been on the sidelines of Twitter for a while. I assumed it was primarily for professional entertainers and pro sports heroes, that the rest of us had no business in that glitzy universe. My generation is more concerned about the possibility that the U.S. Post Office will cancel snail mail on Saturdays than we are what Kobe is tweeting.
Two Sundays ago, I was on Twitter following the Masters. Messages were being posted faster than I could read them.
As I tried to keep up, I realized this was the place to be for an information junkie.
We all know what happened in Boston and how important photographs on Twitter were as authorities searched for the bombers at the Boston Marathon. Meanwhile, in Texas, a video shot on an iPhone captured the explosion at a fertilizer factory and within minutes it was viewed around the world. It went viral, to use a contemporary phrase.
To better explain what is happening, I sat down with Bill Becker, the president of Naartjlie Multimedia, a creative content provider in Columbus. He said Twitter gives an individual the ability to become a magazine or a radio station.
"There hasn't been this kind of opportunity to reach people since the explosion of magazines in the 1960s," Becker said. "And this is imminent, you don't have to wait on publication."
He called it "personal publishing," and said consumers no longer "have to wait on the news."
Agencies such as his are using Twitter as another media opportunity.
"We'd be remiss if we didn't add this to our quiver," he said.
Facebook is an online coffee shop where friends meet friends.
Twitter is the gathering place for people hungry for information -- even if it is sent in posts of only 140 characters.
At the same time, people wanting news have to wade through clutter.
"Relevance is the key," Becker said. "Do people really care what you had for lunch or that Aunt Betty fell and broke her hip?"
Social media evolved in record time and Becker knows there is more to come.
He mentioned "technological convergence" as a possibility, explaining it as a means to merge our iPhone, our iPad, our MacBook with our flat-screen TV, right in our own living room.
He's probably right. But for now, I'll stick to being a twit.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent who can be found at www.twitter.com/hyattrichard.