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Happy 5th Birthday, Twitter

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Twitter really brought Social Media to the forefront of our culture. Combined with Facebook, there isn't anything we can't say or do. Of course, you have to keep it to a minimum of 140 characters on Twitter, but we still manage to get the message. How has this medium of communication changed the way we interact with each other? There are positives and negatives abound: First, we manage to get snippets of information in real time - you tweet it, you share it instantaneously. Twitter gives us the ability to communicate with public figures and celebrities in a way that we never before experienced. It used to be, the only way to get to know a public figure was through press clippings and gossip columns. Now, you get it straight from the "horse's mouth". And you interact with them as well. The same goes for friends, family members and even the maker of your favourite ice cream. The possibilities are endless; all you have to do is choose to follow someone or something, sit back and wait for the tweets.

What are the downsides of Twitter? First, it has reduced our ability to express ourselves to 140 characters or less. If you're a young person growing up tweeting, this can seriously stunt your communicative skills. It used to be, Drink your milk and eat your veggies, and you'll grow up strong and healthy. Now its, If you don't stop abbreviating all your words you'll never be able to write a graceful sentence. Unfortunately, no one really seems to care about that one. As long as you can decipher the abbreviations, you're doing great. An entire generation of people are growing up "tweet-speaking". Just another cultural shift we're all getting used to. Not unlike SEO: We search engine optimizers live our lives by keeping track of keywords and the number of characters we use, so why should the rest of the world be any different? 140 is a magical number...

Good points and bad points aside, Twitter is here to stay. Whether we like it or not, this is a Social Media world we now live in, and Twitter is a big part of it. So, go forth and Tweet. Just remember to pay nice with the other "Twits".

For a new video about Twitter and comments from famous users, click here. http://discover.twitter.com/

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