In March of 2006, Lord Byron Tweet needed a new medium with which to communicate all his wants and needs to the people of Twittervania, of which he governed with absolute rule. And thus Twitter was spawned.
Or something like that.
As far as I know, this is actually how Twitter was created, since Ive been blissfully ignorant of all things Twitter-centric since the social media device was first implemented seven years ago.
When I first heard of Twitter and learned that it could be used as a tool to communicate wants, needs, selfies and pictures of food, it seemed like a redundant program that mimicked a lot of what Facebook already does, albeit on a much smaller scale.
I had no social or professional reason to get caught up in the Twitter storm, decided I could do without and let the craze pass me by.
Until 2014, that is. This year Ive opted to end my seven-year unofficial boycott of Twitter and dip my toe into a realm of technology of which I have little to no knowledge.
Im still pretty hesitant about using Twitter, because I feel it has made mainstream media inconceivably lazy when it comes to reporting and fact-checking – particularly among the sludge that passes for news on the 24-hour networks.
But I also understand that Twitter is effective as a means for passing along information to a large swath of people as quickly as possible. Thats where I plan to incorporate it into my sports coverage.
One of the biggest problems with being a weekly newspaper is that we live in a world where information gets transmitted almost simultaneously with when it happens. Each issue of the Woodburn Independent is built on a Monday and published on a Wednesday, and the sports section reports on everything that occurred the previous week. The earlier in the week an event happens, the more stale it becomes as an item of news.
Take this weeks sports events for example.
The spring high school athletic season opened Monday afternoon, but because the Wednesday issue of the Independent is being built hours before the first pitches are thrown out, results from those games wont appear in print until the March 26 issue. Thats nine days after the fact. By the time the results get to the paper, many baseball and softball teams are on their fourth, fifth and sixth games!
Thats where I see Twitter as a resource that can help improve the day-to-day reporting of high school athletics, and Ive chosen this spring as the launch pad for the Woodburn Independents sports Twitter account.
I still dont have a phone that can access the Internet, meaning I wont be able to post live updates on the games I attend. Im also limited in my own general ignorance of the Twitterverse. My first few weeks or months will likely involve some bumbling and stumbling as I figure out how best to incorporate it into the news feed.
My goal is eventually to update the Woodburn Independents sports Twitter account several times a day with results, great plays I witnessed, pictures and anything that can add to our high school coverage.
I look forward to exploring this strange new world that millions of people already know.
You can reach me at @philhawkinsWI. Ill see you all in cyberspace.