Hello. My name is Jenny . . .

. . . and I’m a Twitter addict.

I use Twhirl, a desktop application that that sends the latest tweets right to me, so I don’t have to go to a web page to read them.  I keep it open whenever I’m in front of a laptop.  And I’m in front of a laptop a heck of a lot.  So I’m almost always “on” Twitter.   The past two days, though, have been incredibly busy with classes and work, and from about 6pm yesterday until 1pm today, I wasn’t logged into Twhirl.

(Though, I will point out that during the debate last night, I was watching Election 08 on Twitter, so I wasn’t “off” Twitter for that long.  More on that in a minute.)

When I finally got back to my desk this afternoon, the first thing I did was go to the Twitter webpage so I could catch up on all the tweets I missed (Twhirl will only give me 20 tweets at a time, and I knew there’d be more than 20 unread tweets, so I had to use the web interface).  Since there was a debate last night, there were larger than usual numbers of tweets, so it took me almost an hour to read all the back tweets.

After I got done, I was a little mad at myself.  I really needed to use that hour on something more productive.  But, I just couldn’t help myself.  That’s when I realized I’m a Twitter addict!

And, I’m considering something that probably isn’t good for my addiction.

During the first presidential debate, I thought it would be fun to check out the Election 08 site and see what people were saying about what the candidates were saying.  And it was.  I found it incredibly entertaining.  In fact, I ended up not watching much of the debate and paying more attention to the tweets about the debates.  Same thing happened during the vice presidential debate.

I have two classes that require a research paper at the end of the semester.  In one, I have to critique an interaction using some theory we are learning.  In the other, I have to conduct research on a CMC mode in the setting of my choice. While thinking about possible topics for those, I hit upon the idea of critiquing the interactions of people with Twitter during the debates.  I then realized that that subject would also be an appropriate topic for the CMC paper.

While trying to figure how capture necessary data, I decided to ask a Ph.D. student who has already done some research related to Twitter for some suggestions. He first offered some great ideas, and then later suggested that we write a paper for publication where we create a corpus of tweets during a debate and analyze the information flow.

I’m very intrigued by the topic, and I’ve yet to be published.  Plus, I already have to turn in these papers in December for the two classes. So, it seems obvious that I should do this.

So, while spending time writing some papers about Twitter may not be good for my Twitter addiction, maybe this Twitter addiction will be good for my academic career!


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