By the time NBC's Today show starts talking about a technology trend, you know it's tired as a guy working the bleep button at a Chris Rock show.
But, despite the morning show's vapid primer Thursday on the microblogging service some of us have used for months — did you know a "dweet" is a Twitter message you send while drunk? — it's obvious this platform has only begun its spin in the news spotlight.
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos last week publicized a "Twitterview" with 72-year-old Sen. John McCain, proving that interviews with important politicians should never be limited to 140 characters per question.
And everyone from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times has lampooned the stupid stuff celebrities say in their tweets (my fave: Taylor Swift warning her 29,200 followers "please don't panic; I didn't cut my hair." Thank God!). Still, I'm taking a stand against the madness to insist that there are actually Four Reasons Twitter Still Rocks:
1. Keep up with a ton of Web sites.
I've never liked using RSS readers to keep track of blogs and Web sites; they just collect links I can never read through quickly. But if you create a Twitter account and start following messages (or "feeds") from sites you respect — mine include tampabay.com and a guy pretending to be Triumph the Insult Comic Dog — you can review a ton of material in a few mouse clicks.
2. Go places you'll never see otherwise.
When I covered the Golden Globes, sitting in a Los Angeles press room watching stars backstage, my tweets helped readers feel like they were sitting there, too. And though I can't visit Austin for the South By Southwest music festival, checking the tweets about bands and panel discussions makes me feel closer.
3. Great way to tap great minds.
Celebrities rarely use a public message forum to say anything interesting. But sci-fi author Neil Gaiman and Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody always have interesting posts. And for someone interested in the future of media, almost every leading expert has a kicking Twitter feed.
4. Great way to have (short) conversations.
Across my Twitter feeds, I follow a pal in Fort Lauderdale writing on pop culture, a Chicago friend who is the best critic writing about TV from a fan's perspective and a journalist pal in Kansas City who thinks like the twin I never had. And tweets are broadcast to an audience of friends, which means I can hear from them, even when they're not talking directly to me. And what could be cooler than that?