March 26th, 2009
11:45 AM ET

Just between you and me and Twitter

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/26/art.twitter.jpg]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

I never thought I’d say this but…I like Twitter.  It’s kind of fun.  Not fun in the “Larry King just arrived and he brought a bottle of Stoli Vanilla” kind of way, but fun nevertheless.

Sure, I was skeptical at first.  Not Rick Sanchez and that Twitter thing again, ugh, what channel is Ellen on?

I just didn’t get it.  I thought it was one of those things that’d be popular for a week and peak with an item on Entertainment Tonight that began with, “Lindsay Lohan announced on her Twitter page today that she’s been kicked off Dancing with the Stars.”  And, as far as I was concerned, that would be the end of it.

But – just like with the directions I gave to a group of Danish tourists on the subway yesterday – I was wrong:  Twitter is here to stay and, it turns out, is perfect for people, like me, who find that traditional forms of communication like phone calls and emails take up valuable time that could otherwise be spent watching Judge Judy.

 Indeed, the great thing about Twitter is that it forces you to cram your thoughts into a maximum of 140 characters.  In other words, 120 characters more interesting than my life is on any given day.

Of course, some of my friends don’t understand Twitter.  That’s fine, they never understood me anyway.  Go ahead –  build your careers, raise your families, donate your time to charitable causes.  It’s not my fault you think only of yourselves.  I’m focused on the important things in life like notifying strangers when I sneeze and chronicling my War Against Fanny Packs.  Not to mention keeping up with the lives of Soleil Moon Frye and MC Hammer.

And sure, there are the traditionalists for whom handwritten letters are still the preferred method of correspondence.  But, personally, I feel calligraphy on scented stationery lacks the thoughtfulness and heartfelt sentiment of: “OMG, thx for the $$ grandma. U r gr8. Can't wait 2 c u soon. Luv, Jack.”

Additionally, Twitter is great in case of emergency.  It’s saved Erica Hill from a bad home perm on more than one occasion.  And if only it had been around when I was stuck in line at Sbarro then that whole unpleasantness could have been avoided.

I actually think I’m going to soon cut off all forms of communication except for Twitter.  I mean, I have a phone, but all I get are calls from bill collectors and jilted lovers.  (Not because I’m late on any payments but because I only date bill collectors.)

By the way, my Twitter username is @jackgraycnn.  Which, in retrospect, is rather uninspired.  I regret not going with my gut and choosing @olivegardenfan or @myfootisasleep.

I suppose there is still a chance that Twitter might wind up being just a fad.  I don’t know.  I’m not good at predicting things.  Every year I’m convinced Steven Seagal is going to be nominated for an Oscar.

Anyway, for now, I’m going to stick with Twitter.  Sure, at times it can be confusing and even downright creepy.  But, hey, I’m used to both those things.  After all, I live in New York.


Follow Jack Gray on Twitter

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Technology • Twitter
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Lilibeth

    Hi Jack, I've not been on Twitter yet, I've heard of it, but a big part of me refuses to do it. There are lots of things that I can be on (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and those I refuse as well. I don't know why, no good reason, I just don't feel like it. Sounds lame, but believe me, it took me a while to get a cell phone, and deciding to get an Iphone is huge for me. So I hope you don't give up all other forms of communication (such as this blog), because if you do, I'll never hear from you again, and I'll miss you terribly. Take care,

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 27, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  2. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Helloo Jack!!!
    That is good joke..... I love this twitter all times..... it is so great to talk each other...... I am enjoy your comment everyday....... Thanks for chatting me online twitter. it is so awesome!!! Have a good trip!! hope talk you soon as possible. Take care yourself!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:30 am |
  3. Annie Kate

    Hey Jack

    Great post. You are good in either medium – twitter or blogging. I have noted the ice cream messages the last few days and want to thank you for reminding me that I haven't had an ice cream binge in a long time....and such flavors you inspired me to think about. I'm still in the process of deciding. Maybe one of each flavor is the ticket....

    Twitter calls – see you there and here!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 26, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  4. Don, WA

    Another thing on my "to-do" list: To learn "The Language of the Birds."

    March 26, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I don't text message. I refuse to Twitter. Whatever happened to writing in complete grammatically correct sentences? Call me the English graduate who refuses to degrade the language she loves to monosyllabic symbolic rubbish.

    March 26, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  6. Rose

    I've suddenly got the twitter twitch...thanks for the reminder. Time for my obligatory daily tweet.

    Should've gone with "myfootisasleep" or "fannypackfriend"

    Good laughs as usual...have a great day!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Helen, Reading, UK

    Evening Jack, Sammy and my peeps, Esma, Presley, Isabel and Rikki (hope you're managing to stay dry, honey!). I have to admit that even though I'm reasonably computer literate, I didn't get Twitter at first. Thought it was a poor man's Facebook! Now I'll quite happily Tweet, but I can't do it as often as I'd like, since I don't actually own a computer, and for some reason my mobile phone won't let me on the site. In fact Jack, I must thank you for doing me the great honour of responding to a message I sent! I was as giddy as a schoolgirl, don't you know! If anyone wants to follow me, I can be found under 'PAN1F'. My life really isn't that thrilling, so I like to see what the rest of you are doing instead.. At this precise moment, I'm babysitting my god-daughter and her little brother, watching Duran Duran: Arena on TV, drooling over John Taylor and singing along to Girls On Film whilst re-living my mis-spent youth. Ah, the 80's, what a decade.. So, it's been nice chatting with you, but I'm off now to warm up the vocal chords for The Reflex. Lots of love and tail wags etc. x x x

    March 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  8. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    Super Sweet Tweet Jack!
    It must have been that bird flu Jack. Now you like to tweet! Maybe you are a hummingbird. You tweet and consume loads of sugar. Do you fly backwards by chance? Mate for life? Build nest? Just a few side affects to ponder.
    Shoot, I ate dog food by mistake once. Yeah, I thought it was caviar. It didn't bother me much but I chased the mail carrier and bit him on the leg. But that was just that one time.
    I haven't found the "charm" to tweeting. I followed you there Jack but I am just now figuring out fb. So far, twitter is fun! If you like watching paint dry or chewing cardboard. I am tweetly challenged!
    Well, I have to run. Jesus is at the door.
    I saw this billboard that said, "Need Help? Call Jesus!" so, I did. A hispanic man with a lawnmower showed up at my door.
    Whew! Was that a Godsend!
    C U L8er c'? ( that c' is spanish shorthand)
    ♥ and XO's and Tail Wags!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  9. vanessa, TX

    ah yes...twitter! since i discover twitter, I've since then been addicted..simply can't remember life before twitter. I twitter everywhere, on crackberry, iphone, computer, on top of the roof..sooo addicting! All thanx to you, Jack!
    I've gone as far as teaching a local radio station how to "tweet"...I was even setting them up with their own tweet page on live radio..yay..Now, i also started the trend @ work...just haven't told my boss yet that I twitter! shhh...
    So, now that I've clicked the link & read this blog from twitter, I'll go back to twitter, since you've taken up my time away from twitter...lol
    BTW, hi to all the twitter tribe!

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  10. Sharon S

    Jack, I just don't get it! I tried Twitter but frankly I'm not a great texter either!

    I feel like I waste enough of my life on the computer, so I'm not going to back you on the twitter thing, because I joined it but I just don't get the Twitter thing?

    Maybe I need more visiuals like Myspace and Facebook! I like to see more of who and what I am talking to!

    March 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  11. Renee

    @ Rikki: Good luck tonight in Fargo! I thought about you and the two crazy women I met from Fargo on a plane once. The women had never left Fargo before. It was their second airplane flight ever. They were 40 plus. Everything was new to them. It was very cute and funny. Good luck and stay safe.

    @ Jack: Please skip the Stoli Vanilla and enjoy a divine drink to impress any of your dog loving friends or Grandma.

    1 part Absolut Vodka Vanilla & 1 part Godiva Chocolate Liqueur combined and shaken with ice. Serve in a martini glass dipped in milk chocolate. Yummo!

    March 26, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  12. Isabel

    Hi, Jack!

    Twitter really is great.
    I joined because of you and I re-meet 3 friends ...
    Oh, it's cool also find the bloggers of AC360, know what each does, see the face of each! 🙂

    When Twitter came many said was one of the most useless of the new Web. However, despite first impressions, many have joined ... you, me, many!

    Most people tend to fear the new and the unknown. But, I love it! After all, I live in Rio de Janeiro. 🙂

    Thanks to tip ... Now I go to my Twitter ... lol ...


    March 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  13. robyn caffrey keyser west virginia

    att : jack + anderson
    this twitter is so good, its not only for pepole keeping in touch, it's good for everybodys health.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Sara

    I'm following you now and I must say that I'm proud of you
    for dropping your laundry off too. cheers!

    March 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  15. Alison

    Oh God, Jack, say it ain't so!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  16. Dave

    Hey Jack, great blog! I needed a laugh and your blog did the trick. I just joined the twitter train 2 weeks ago and I must say that I really enjoy it. Twitter has the ability to inspire, inform, and connect. It kind of acts like a blog search engine. Thanks for makin me smile and I look forward to following you and the whole team at cnn!

    March 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  17. Skeen

    Along with the new twitter explosion has come another one of my pet peeves. To 'tweet' is to 'twitter'. The latter is not a verb, but what do I know...I've become annoyed at a world (twitterverse) full of virtual strangers. A twitter dictionary would be much appreciated.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  18. Kimberley

    Hey Jack...

    You always make me laugh, whether your blogging or Twittering... Now go take out the trash!

    March 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  19. Mary Peterson

    Once again you cornered the market on true-yet-pithy entertainment. 😉 I very much balked at joining Twitterhood. I even blogged about how I just didn't get it. (and it just turned 3, so obviously us late-bloomers aren't alone!)

    Turns out I'm having way more fun than I imagined. And frankly it's downright ideal for a busy mommy like me who gets 5-minute breaks throughout the day. It crystallizes my own personal tag-line: bottom-line it for me!

    Speaking of which, duty calls. Oh and someone probably told you this already but Xylitol is the ultimate non-sugar sweetener.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  20. Neo

    It's that instant gratification thing isn't it? Also, c'mon what great promo! 😉 Unlike myspace where I have to remember that I care about you and unlike YouTube which is edited for YOUR entertainment. Twitter REMINDS me ... LIVE. GREAT MARKETING. Having said that I have stopped "following" people who I THOUGHT were cool (in their PR clothes) who turn out to be complete imbecile, women hating superficialists in REALER life.I have also grown to like people (ie:iamdiddy) who I thought were the latter but who turn out to be very motivating. I wouldn't be here on AC360 or watching the show etc. so yes it works.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  21. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Hi Jack, I signed up but never tweeted; don't know how lol! Logged into yours–interesting to read things like you must have your morning cereal to start the day. The one about writing with the heater on and your dog sleeping and all quiet–that's great; as one who loves writing I know the feeling. So happy you blogged and cheered me up; feel like I can stop worrying about Anderson and crew at the border–he doesn't do much tweeting, just a tidbit now and then, but that's cool in itself. X0 for you, Jack!!

    March 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  22. Billa

    Twitter Twitter Twitter... Who is the marketing genius behind twitter? Daily I see at least 3 articles in major news sites about Twitter.. Who is the PR manager behind twitter? I would give 10 out 10 for the the marketing strategy followed by twitter. Or is all the news sites just riding the hype? I would love to learn the secret sauce for creating an hype this for this site.

    In my person opinion, Twitter is just turning men into women. Talk talk talk talk talk about everything they are doing... Be it useful or useless. Tweet tweet tweet – isn't it feminine? Or is the application is more focused on metrosexuals and heterosexuals?

    March 26, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  23. Jennifer - Michigan

    Good morning Jack –
    Very funny post, as always. You're so witty! I knew you would enjoy twitter after you figured it out. It is fun – a little message medium. And 140 characters is plenty. It's nice when people keep it short and to the point. Hope you have a great day today – the markets are up at least for now. Talk to you later.

    March 26, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  24. Marilyn from MO


    Between texting, Facebook and e-mails and such,
    I just wouldn't be able to Twitter much.

    All the above seem to take up my day.
    I'm a woman. Only 120 characters – no way!

    Besides, I get Twitter mixed up with Tweety the bird.
    The one that gets chased by the cat, how absurd.

    If I could just send my boss down to Mexico,
    I would have time to give Twitter a go!

    March 26, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  25. Marilyn

    You must have been reading my mind. You have given me just one more reason to continue with this Twittering business. Thank you for the laugh!

    March 26, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  26. Sergio Flores, Sweden

    Hi.. that was a funny blogg... really... I love my twitter.... I think its so freeing... and challenging ... In my case I report tiny news from Sweden... and what I like about it is that I can report the moment the news happen, and where it happens... add to that the use of twitpic.. even better.... I can take pics or make a video with my cellphone.. which is the way I mostly use twitter its very practical for field reporting...

    I try to keep the amount of ppl I follow very low, because I mainly read my tweets via cellphone.... am just interested in the news... I just wish the people I write to.. would answer back.. There is one... who really makes an effort to do it... and he doesnt have to....Is the colourful Richad Quest... he is really grand... I love my twitter.

    March 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  27. Vicky, Nashville, TN

    LOL, good blog!
    Im thinking...like anything else..that we will all get burned out on twiiter from time to time...but we will never stop using it. 🙂

    March 26, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  28. pamina

    Hi Jack-
    You're so funny! Fanny packs should be a thing of the past. Twitter,Facebook,etc are here to stay!
    Have a good day!!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  29. karen rappaport

    I think twitter is a great way to amalgamate all the news u r interested in quickly...forget the TMI from friends...art, books, news, and music in 120 words!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  30. akf

    This is hilarious, I'm definitely going to send my grandma a "U r gr8" thank you note at the earliest opportunity.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  31. Dee in CT

    Great, now I'm going to have join the twitterverse just so I can know when you sneeze ... wait does that sound a bit like stalkingish type behavior to anyone else? Speaking of which – how's the sugar battle going?

    March 26, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  32. Mary MacElveen

    This was funny to read. As a boomer, at times when it comes to technology, I am still at a loss. However, I like the hand-held scanner at my local Stop and Shop which allows you to scan your own items as you go along and then pay in the self-scan aisle. No more lugging heavy items onto the conveyer belt. To me, that is far better than a Black Berry. Okay, I have got to know this: who named it Twitter and how did messages become tweets? Anderson or Rick Sanchez, can you please find that out?

    But, twitter I will and tweets I love. Even the inane ones. Within them one can often find a story to write of.

    Mary MacElveen

    March 26, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  33. Tony

    I wonder what the degrees of separation are between all twitsciples in the twitterverse...Hmmm...

    March 26, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  34. angelica

    PS if Anderson is doing it, it must be cool!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  35. Christian Montone

    ...And OF COURSE I got a link to this article on... guess where? TWITTER!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  36. Brigette

    I had never heard of you before I got the link to this from an @andersoncooper tweet. This is hilarious. Well done.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  37. Kevin Ishpeming

    FInally, someone is on the same page as I. Good luck with the fanny pack crusade....

    Kevin, somewhere up north of all the BS

    March 26, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  38. angelica

    Ok well I loveeee twitter and I love Anderson Cooper and I also love you Jack. I'll be following you pretty soon on Twitter, lol. But yea, I thought this would be a fad as well but nooo. Everyone is twittering. It gives you a more intimate view at what celebs as well as normal people are doing. I love it!!! Twitter Roxx!!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  39. Katherine a.k.a Katie

    I am an official Tweet ( not twit) also.
    I find it fun ,but I'm still getting the hang of things.
    I look forward to your tweets 🙂
    Thanks for the giggles with this blog...OMG U r gr8

    March 26, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  40. Heather,ca

    Morning Jack

    I can say I have never Twittered,dont even know what it is. But I text constantly. But now i might just have to check it out.

    March 26, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  41. Pantz

    I'm not into twitter that much just yet. But i can see that changin

    March 26, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  42. Cindy

    So you went from a sugar-holic and cut that out and you are moving on to a twitter-holic now huh? Well at least it can't add that spare tire to your waste now can it!? LOL Well OK..if you're stuffing your face, twittering all day and not getting out then that's another story. So lets hope for your sake Jack that you use it on your phone and still get those long NYC walk-a-thons in. HMM..or maybe you could join Coop at the gym and twitter while your on the treadmill or while he's making you keep the crowd away while he gets those guns pumped up. LOL

    Yeah..twitter is cool!


    March 26, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  43. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Good morning Jack! I'm well aware of how addicting twitter is! I, myself, have become rather addicted and I blame you...you started it...cuz I didn't even know what Twitter was until you got one! But I do enjoy it! 🙂 Anyway just stopping by on my way out the door to continue the fight against the raging Red River! Have a good one, Jack!


    March 26, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  44. Alicia

    I'm also waiting patiently for @jackgraycnn to make a Fight Club reference. Perhaps "I am Jack's sugarless brain". You get the idea.

    March 26, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  45. Presley

    Oh Em Gee, you are doing blog about Twitter....
    It is exactly to the point and no frills for sure. I for one love the spammers that show up as a follower in the middle of the night. I wake up and excitedly see 8 more followers only to discover they all got free iPods and have to share their secret about it.
    My Twitter Dictionary, still a work in progress:
    Twitter*nomics; n: you have 140 characters to state ANYTHING, spend them wisely
    Twitter*ocracy; n: Twitter gets the munchies and EATS your Tweets at Twitters discretion!!! Funny thing, this never happens to Anderson's Ghost Tweeter.
    Twitter*gate; n: Twitter ignores you and never returns your Tweets and acts like it did nothing wrong.
    Twitter*istic; Creative Tweeters. Not all of them are hitting the mark though, I am looking at you Suri Cruise.

    I use Twitter. I Tweet. I follow. I am followed. I just want to know where we are going. I didn't get a map or GPS directions or anything.

    XXO ♥

    March 26, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  46. Esma

    And Jack, remember, we are here to help you get off sugar. Think of it as a flimsy support group. I still have 26 characters left..hmmmmmm.

    March 26, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  47. Alyzabeth

    And don't forget you can notify your friends if you are falsly imprisoned in a foreign country! True story! Why is it so addicting? I too thought it was a silly fad. Then it took over my life!

    March 26, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  48. Dawn Richards

    Okay, what's the new buzz word?....Twitter, how's that any different from text messaging? We, technology geeks, are constantly looking for something new to thrive on....

    March 26, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  49. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Hi Jack
    I have to say i don't understand twiitter either. I don't know if you nned an account to sign up i don't want that i will stick to bolgging on 360 thank you very much I peefer the old fashoined way of letter writting too or those post it notes ,or the rotary telephone that's really far back. Where is Erica Hill is she sufferring from a bad perm ? I don't get how to make those smilly face pictures either .Thanks to you Jack you've got Anderson's pictuer back up on live blog he is technology challenged . Thanks for your humour and keeping it real Jack !

    Michelle D.
    Not twitter freindly.

    March 26, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  50. vanessa from silver spring, MD

    Hey Jack. Funny Blog today. I think twitter will be around for a while too.

    I'll join you in that war against "fanny packs".lol

    March 26, 2009 at 10:02 am |