I feel the need…the need…for Twitter?

Previously posted on the Student Affairs Women Talk Tech blog:

I feel the need…the need for…Twitter?
Posted on September 10, 2011 by thatkeeginlady

By Jennifer Keegin

I feel the need…the need for Speed! Silly but great line from Top Gun. These past few days, for some reason this quote would float in my head while hunkered down like the ultimate nerd plugging away at Twitter while sharing the latest updates and information regarding the flood happening in Binghamton. I always associated this moment in the movie with a kick in the ass – something that jump starts your mojo, your passion.

There’s something about natural disasters and my need to jump on Twitter. I am drawn to being a part of the action that doesn’t happen on a normal basis. I have enjoyed Twittering while watching the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, or the Royal Wedding – but those are mere fancies. I’m not usually the “plunk-down-in-front-of-the-tv-and-tweet-about-everything” type. I won’t watch the GOP debates just to feel a part of everything. I’m not Republican. I won’t agree with anything they are going to be saying anyhow. But natural disasters? I’m in. I blame my experience with Hurricane Katrina.

The first stage of what I’m now calling “Twitter Topic Addiction” or TTA is the “Wanting to see what others are saying” stage. You start in thinking “Let’s just see what others are saying. What are they posting?” Innocent enough. Twitter is an info sharing process.

Next there’s the “I want to get the word out.” stage. Folks are posting great content and have created handy hashtags to help me isolate the info I want. I wonder if I retweet it – will people want to read it? I think of all the friends who AREN’T affected by what I’m tweeting. They’re going to kill me. Or unfollow me. But there are those hashtags again – bringing in all new viewers and followers. Just because people aren’t following me doesn’t mean they can’t see my tweets. They can. Via #s7storm (Sept. 7 Storm, started by local newspaper). So maybe my RT’s are relevant.

Then there’s the “I have some original content now.” stage. This is the peak of “TTA”. You’ve gone beyond just reading and RT. You’ve now decided to be a part of the topic physically, not just mentally. I went out and took photos. I felt the old newspaper reporter in me wanting to hit on breaking news, content that no one else had yet OR at least not posted before I did. I had flood shots and info on a part of town that wasn’t getting coverage. Across the way on the other river was a guy live streaming from his apartment which was right on the river. Who can beat that? I feel the need – the need for speed.

That’s when I have to force myself to break away. Step away from the iPhone and laptop.

It was time to go home and stay put. There was only so much to see, only so many photos of the same scene. It was getting dark. Even the guy who had been live streaming for 9 hours was tired.

My Klout score went up a drastic four points in one day. That’s ridiculous. I can’t maintain that pace.

In the end I’m glad to not be on the internet as much today. I’m glad that there are plenty of folks ready to share their 9/11 stories with me via Twitter. I’m done for now. Let someone else take on that challenge. Can you imagine if Twitter had been around when 9/11 happened? Would information have spread more quickly? More efficiently? Who knows.

I just hope that in my little way I was able to help get the word out in some fashion in the last two days about what was happening down the street from me when CNN was covering politics. ‘Cause that’s what Twitter is all about. Bringing info to the masses.

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