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Facebook, Twitter a great way to share news, minutiae

May 30, 2009|By JAKE WOMER

A man has to know his limitations, and I've found one of mine -- on Facebook and Twitter.

I'm excited about the possibilities the social networking Web sites offer The Herald-Mail Co. Platforms are evolving, opening new doors for the newspaper to communicate with readers and get the news out. That is intriguing.

I have signed up on both sites, and The Herald-Mail has a presence on both, and I can tell you The Herald-Mail is far more interesting than I am.

If you click to be a fan of The Herald-Mail on Facebook, you can receive breaking news updates sent to your account. If you sign up to follow The Herald-Mail on Twitter, you can get updates sent directly to your smart phone.

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It satisfies an urge to be the first to know what is going on in our community.

That's cool.

On the other hand, to follow my personal Twitter feed or be my Facebook "friend" is a hollow experience. Fundamental to these sites is the impulse to share and share often. That's an impulse I don't get.

But hundreds of millions of people do share, and they make these into busy online communities.

Interesting, right?

Well, not always.

While the possibilities are exciting, the reality can be downright nonsensical.

Often on Facebook and Twitter, people post unfiltered ramblings, passing observations, updates on one's own whereabouts. For the most part, it's the kind of thing that a lot of people used to keep to themselves.

I find it narcissistic to post and share the minutiae of my life. I don't expect even my friends to care.

A typical Twitter posting might be, "Sitting at my desk writing column."

Not exactly illuminating.

If I was climbing Mount Everest, I would have something to post, but then if I was climbing Mount Everest, I would have something far more fascinating to do than be on the Internet.

I visited my sister a few weeks ago. When I arrived, she had just finished updating her Facebook account. She told me a friend was at a Bruce Springsteen concert and had posted online how amazing the concert was -- while the concert was happening.

I was confused.

If I was at a concert, the thought of my Facebook page never would have entered my mind. I would have been wrapped up in the moment.

Would I have posted my musings afterward? Maybe, but probably not. I don't expect most people to care.

I really don't want to know everything about everybody -- the same reason I find "reality" TV so dull and garish. There's much of little consequence.

These Web sites clearly have useful features amid the clutter. They open a line of communication for people to receive valuable information.

Herald-Mail updates are an example -- and a handy one.

Personally, that's about all I'm looking for on these sites right now.

So I'll limit myself to the news updates, sites and feeds that make me smarter and wipe away all of the idle noise until the next great site arrives.

Jake Womer is executive editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733,5131, ext. 7594, or by e-mail at jakew@herald-mail.com.

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