The world is all a Twitter today over the launch of the TwitterPeek. This pocket sized, dedicated Twitter device from the people who brought us the Peek (for email and texting) is adorable. If you have been craving an expensive data phone so you can take Twitter with you, this baby could save you a bundle: The device, with a lifetime of service, is $199 or $99 with 6 months of service.
It only does Twitter so, if you haven’t yet been bitten by the Twitter bug, you may be shaking your head and wondering why. The problem with Twitter is that’s it’s difficult to understand why it’s cool if you don’t have it in your pocket. If you use it only when seated in front of an Internet-connected computer, the life goes out of it — much the same way you can’t understand the beauty of an octopus if you’ve only seen one out of the water. And why would you ante up for an expensive data service to take advantage of something you don’t “get.”
So here’s an example of how it works:
I was in the San Francisco Bay area last week, which is why I have been such a delinquent blogger. (So many friends; so little time.) While I was there, a couple of cables on the Bay Bridge snapped, smacked some cars, closed the bridge, and stalled traffic for hours. Fortunately I was eating fabulous Indian food in Berkeley when the car-smacking and traffic snarl happened. But I had to catch a flight out of San Francisco a couple of days after the incident so I had a particular interested in that closed bridge. My best route to SFO was over it. So the first thing I did when I heard the news was look up who was in charge of opening the bridge and followed them on Twitter.
The closed bridge was a big topic of conversation in the Bay Area everywhere I went: On the hiking trails, in the fantastic coffee shops, in the incredible bakeries, and at the extraordinary Thai, Indian, and Japanese restaurants. (Oh, how I miss them already.) But most of the information I overheard was outdated or inaccurate. I know this because I had the up-to-the-minute 411 on the facts from the people who were up all night doing the repairs delivered to my pocket. As soon as they knew anything, they tweeted. And several times a day they tweeted how the repairs were going, a current estimate for when the bridge would open, and a url to some pictures of the work in progress. No news outlet could possibly tell me so much, so fast, on this topic of particular interest.
I use Twitter this way to follow news headlines, bloggers, people in my industry, actors in TV shows I like, my friends, and anything else that interests me. I have my finger on the pulse of what interests me. This Twitter thing is not just fun. It’s darn helpful.
I wish more people would use it. My friend Annette, for example, is expecting a baby any day now. I tried to talk her into tweeting about her pregnancy so I wouldn’t have to call her and check in to get updates. I want to hear the results of every test, how she’s feeling, and whatever else is going on with her unborn. I would â€“ at least — like to know the minute she goes into labor. But I won’t. She doesn’t ‘get’ Twitter. She just looked at me like I was speaking Greek (or geek) and let a friend set up a Yahoo Group to announce the baby instead. Sigh. So cumbersome. So old school. Twitter would have been much easier.
I have a TwitterPeek here in my hands and it’s pretty darn cute. It makes the cutest little baby-bird tweet when a tweet comes in. It handles direct messages, @messages, and everything else you want to do with Twitter very handily. And it’s pretty. I already have a very nice Twitter app on my Sidekick (phone) but if I didn’t, I’d be eyeing that $199 for a lifetime of service (over a cellular network so no looking for Wi-Fi) the way an octopus stalks a crab.