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Why I Like Twitter

When I originally joined twitter, I played around with it for a few hours and then gave up because quite simply – it looked too complicated and I didn’t get it.

Months later, I was convinced to give it a second try. And I’m glad I was intrigued to do so because now is it probably one of my primary sources to get the news (I talked about this here). This was just around the time when it seemed as if all the journalist and broadcast news organizations were creating twitter accounts as another way to stream the news. At this point, it’s been about a year since twitter became really popular amongst journalists and news reporters and other public figures.

What I love about twitter is that I can follow whatever I am interested about from my laptop or my phone … or anywhere else where I’ll have access to twitter. Say I’m sitting in class or in the student center in between classes and can’t watch the news coverage of something I really want to be watching. Chances are someone many people are tweeting quotes or paraphrasing the content of whatever is currently happening that I am missing.

For example when the whole ‘balloon-boy’ fiasco was happening, I was sitting in a class done the assignment I was supposed to be doing and suddenly I started getting tweets about the whole mess from the start and through all of its twists and turns.

Twitter has not only been great for news – sensational, real or otherwise, but it’s great for having interactive discussion with others who care about what you care about. If you agree, great… if you don’t – I think it’s even better.

As I was watching Obama’s SOTU address, I was following the trending topic and getting to read other people’s thoughts live and have a conversation about something I care about with other people who care about the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I feel like in my social group, very few people care about the same things as I do. It puts new media to a whole new level.

Not only that, nowadays, I probably access most of the articles I ready daily off of twitter from what others share in their tweets or what organizations like magazines tweet. Instead of going to different websites to find articles that are of interest to me or anything like that, they are all brought to me in one central location.   

As 2009 drew to an end, it was even cool to look through Top Twitter Trends of 2009” which summarized what we as a collective groups of people from across the world found most important and worthy of attention across a variety of categories. 

It always amazes me when people compare twitter to facebook because they two could not be any more different and have two completely different purposes.

Do you use twitter? What do you like most about it? Or what do you use it most for? If you don’t use it – is there any particular reason or you just don’t see a need for it?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

The News: Old School vs. New School

I’m a news junkie.

Everyone (and anyone) who knows me, knows that. I have ‘breaking news’ alerts from many different sources delivered to my phone, a few major websites are bookmarked, I have many RSS feeds coming into my Google Reader, I read the news online daily from various sources, I ‘follow’ newspapers, news broadcasting organizations and reporters themselves on Twitter… just to name a few (I used to even have news headlines and whatnot emailed to me but it became a bit much). I like to know what’s going on not only around me, but nationally and worldwide as well.

I credit that to my dad – for as long as I can remember, he has ALWAYS read the newspaper and watched the local news, the national news, and various channels that cover international news. For as long as I can remember we would, as a family sit in the evenings (usually at dinner) and, talk about what happened that day. Even nowadays when our schedules conflict, when we are all finally home at night, we still do it.

Anyhow, back to the point. If you didn’t notice, I’ll point it out: most of my sources for the news are online. I do still watch the news on the TV sometimes (a lot more during election cycles). Technology has, without a doubt, come far. I can’t even remember the last time I physically picked up a paper to read – even though we get them delivered to our home everyday because my dad still reads them.

I can remember when we had to wait until the next day to read in the newspaper about something, whereas nowadays – it’s readily available to us with a few simple clicks. Sometimes (a lot of times) we know something is going to happen before it happens (especially in politics)!

A few weeks ago, I remember as I was reading an article on a local fire on the website of my local newspaper and I couldn’t believe that the newspaper had gotten the article from the Associated Press! Why a local newspaper had to use an article from the AP to cover a local fire had me annoyed and amused at the same time (more annoyed at the time). Anyhow, I noticed it again a week or so ago and that time another thought came to my mind. As sad as it is that a local newspaper is looking for outside sources to write and publish articles for local situations, the unfortunate reality is perhaps that the local newspapers don’t have the resources to cover such issues!

Sure the internet has created great conveniences for us all, but there has been setbacks and consequences as well. Can you imagine how many people have lost their jobs in the newspaper industry because they were no longer needed?

It got me thinking about it on a larger scale. Are people in the news industry losing their jobs because of the internet? Or are more and more people turning to the internet for their news because a newspaper simply is not enough.

At first, I thought that the answer was simple – people in the news industry are obviously losing their jobs because more and more people are choosing to get their news elsewhere (mainly the internet). Don’t you think, however, that it is also equally plausible that more and more people are going to the internet because they have a variety of options and can hear from ‘different voices’ on a particular issue? We don’t subscribe to many newspapers, but can very easily subscribe, or at least view, to many different sources online. Let’s face it – a single newspaper can’t objectively provide everything the internet resources can. And I don’t know about you, but I want to know a few different sides of a story.

So now I’m curious. Do you guys read the news? If so, do you do it the old fashioned way (a physical paper) or go the internet for it all? Is one better than the other in your opinion?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on Earthquake in Haiti

I’m sure, by now, everyone has heard of the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti earlier this week on Tuesday that has caused so much destruction, left so many people homeless and without food, injured countless people, and killed over 45 thousand people (and counting; the number is expected to sky rocket tremendously). Not to mention the amount of ‘missing’ people that are still unaccounted for.

I keep reading in the news and through twitter that government officials in Haiti are pleading for basic essentials like water and food, and aid to treat the injured. That they don’t have the capacity to treat the injured. That they lack the technology in so many aspects, such as being able to locate people and notify their families elsewhere that they have been accounted for in one sense or another.

At the same time, technology has gone so far in our part of the world through the White House blog people learned that they can donate ten dollars at a time by simply texting ‘HAITI’ to ‘90999’ and confirming their donations when prompted. The ten dollar donation will appear on your next cell phone bill and a 100% of it will go to Red Cross to help those effected by this earthquake.

It gets you thinking about how much you take for granted on a daily basis and how much we have to be thankful for. It also got me thinking about the fact that it takes a catastrophe like an earthquake for people to really count their blessings.

But you know what – I also thought about the fact that it was once again proved that when we really need to… we can rally together as one collective group of people for a worthy cause. A couple of hours ago I was reading on twitter that through cell phone donations alone the Red Cross and Yele organizations have received donations of over six million dollars combined! Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Same Blog; New Domain!

I bought my own domain name yesterday and was finally able to start using it tonight.

The old summaiyahhyder.blogspot.com is now summaiyahhyder.com (the old one should redirect you automatically).

I’ve been wanting to get it for the longest time (well over a year), and i finally got it. I’m actually glad I waited to make sure I was going to continue to blog for the long run before I made the investment.

The process turned out be quite long and in many different steps to do the conversion (and took over a day to complete) – thankfully my brother Faraz did it for me, because I’m not sure I would even know how to do it.

When I have some free time (which means after graduation), I want to turn it into more than just my blog – but a website. We’ll see how that goes.

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

Happy New Years!

Anyone else think 2009 just flew by? It seems like every year goes by faster and faster than the year before.

There are so many things i’m looking forward to this year – graduating from rutgers in may being one of them – and i’m quite excited to see what this new year brings.

I was just telling my parents and my aunt and uncle about a week or so ago how crazy it is that it was TEN years ago when there was so much pandemonium about the new millennium and the Y2K bug. I’ve been thinking all week about Y2K (and all the havoc it caused). It seems like it was so long ago, yet at the same time – it feels like it was just yesterday.

I was reading some of the ‘tweets’ on twitter with the hashtag ‘#10yearsago’ earlier, and it was so interesting to read some of the responses. My personal response: I was 11, in the 6th grade, living in Canada (but moved later that year to New Jersey).

It’s crazy how much times have changed. For instance, texting didn’t exist ten years ago – and i can’t even imagine not being able to text or accessing the internet all the time.

I can remember when we were younger and the internet was new (and was connected to our phone lines), our parents would only let each of us go online for half an hour each day (unless we had homework or something, of course). Nowadays, I am always connected to the internet on my laptop and can access it no matter where I am through my phone.

I wonder what was ‘big’ that year? Except all the hype and the drama the Y2K craze caused, of course.

Anyhow, Happy New Year! I hope it’s full of wonderful things for everyone and brings great things your way.

Do you have any resolutions for this year?

UPDATE: I gotta add this. My brother wrote this on facebook, and i thought it was nicely written:

‘What a strange decade. We went from the panic of Y2K to a digital decade. In 2000 text messaging didn’t even exist. Facebook/Twitter/Youtube and the likes weren’t even dreamed of yet by their founders. Most people didn’t own a cellphone. High speed internet in most homes was still years away.’

Isn’t it crazy to think what will happen in the next ten years?

Games – the Old Fashioned Way

I don’t know about you, but i LOVE playing old board games with family and friends. Tonight, my little cousin Imran stayed over after a really long time and we (my brothers, Imran, and I) played a game of monopoly (that took over four hours!) the old fashioned way (after a few years) – and it got me thinking.

We used to play so many board games (like chess, checkers, chinese checkers, mastermind just to name a few) when we were little… and it reminded me of that time today. I wish we still played as much as we used to, but honestly no one does anymore. Like i was telling some of my family members some time ago, no one takes the time to play board games or actively play games outside and things like that anymore. Now, ‘playing’ a game means playing something on the computer or a gaming system like the Wii or X-box. By the way, i can pretty much guarantee my brothers will argue me on this.

Even the newest edition of monopoly now is computerized with a ‘credit card’ like system to take away the mathematical portion of the game. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a neat aspect, but part of the fun of the game was the old fashioned way to play it. Sure, the game runs much faster now… but that was half the fun.

I am still relatively young, but i can remember clearly that we used to go outside and play regularly after school and whatnot when we were younger. Nowadays, you don’t see that too much. Of course there are changes with each generation, but don’t you think some things should always remain the same?

Not only is playing actively outside or a board game with others healthy, but it is great for your social skills. People nowadays, especially little kids, lack basic social skills that are necessary to be able to communicate with others. I can’t count the number of times I’ve noticed people (of all ages) not being to communicate with other people face to face.

Technology is great, by all means – I’m not arguing that. But sometimes, it inhibits people. Nowadays, people ‘communicate’ primarily though email, texting, or instant messaging (or just Facebook). While all of these have made communicating with people much easier, it should not mean that you are no longer able to talk to people face to face at all.

The next few times you are talking to people from various age groups, take note of it – you’ll be surprised at how many people can’t even make eye contact when they are speaking to people!

Trending Tweets in Review: 2009

As the year 2009 quickly comes to an end, in ten short days, there have been articles everywhere online about “2009 in review” – just like there are every year. This year, however, i came across a new list – one that hasn’t been so widely available in the past, and which i found quite interesting. I feel like it captures all the other sources and information all into one.

It’s called “Top Twitter Trends of 2009“.

In essence it’s everything everyone was talking about and discussing throughout the year. It’s what we, as a collective groups of people from across the world, found most important and worthy of attention.

Do you agree with this assessment? What would you rate to be the the ‘top three’ in each category? The ones you found most important. Did any one of the aforementioned surprise you? Or, are there any other you would have included?

Tiger Woods’ Fifteen Minutes of Negative Fame

Normally, I do not take the time to write about an athlete and his (wrong)doings… but for a week now, all i keep hearing about are the million variations in the story and it’s driving me crazy.

  1. first i hear that Tiger Woods has been involved in a “serious” car accident (near/outside his home).
  2. then i hear that Tiger Woods’ wife used golf clubs to break the rear windows of Tiger’s car to get him out of the car after the car accident.
  3. then i hear that Elin (Tiger Wood’s wife) was actually hitting Tiger’s car (aiming for Tiger) with the golf clubs after the two had been fighting about Tiger’s possible infidelity- and was not trying to get Tiger our of the car after his accident as earlier reported. news surface of Tiger’s affairs with two other females.
  4. at this point, Tiger has refused to speak to the police i think like three times. Suspicious? sure.
  5. more rumors continue to spread.
  6. then, five days later, today – Tiger Woods issues another statement saying he has let his family down, and regrets the “transgressions” among other things, but does not admit to an affair or offer any other information.

Let me get this out – i do not think athletes/celebrities/politics, etc. owe us (the public) anything about their private lives. If Tiger Woods had done something in his athletic field or something that would directly effect athletics (like steroids), by all i means i would be pressing for more information or an explanation. However, it is not.

Famous or not, your actions have consequences for not only you, but for your family members too unfortunately. While it saddens me that yet another person has not only let their own family down but embarrassed them publicly, i still do not think it is the right of the media nor anyone else to press on this matter for the sake of his family.

If Tiger Woods is indeed guilty of what is claimed, you can not honestly tell me that Tiger did not know he would be caught. Politicians, athletes, celebrities are hounded every minute and every thing they do is released to the public (from what they are wearing and eating to anything extraordinary), so it was only a matter of time before such news would come out. nonetheless, it is hard to fathom why people do the things they do. I’m sure this is what Woods will be remembered for (unless he does something worse in the future), so i don’t understand why he would risk all of his success.

And another point, I don’t know why he denied the claim/lied (only to later confirm it). Like we weren’t going to find out ? Come on people, in this day and age of technology, we find out things the instant it happens in so many cases…. so lying is only making it that much worse. Like i said, they owe us nothing… and they don’t have to say anything or release statements to the public, but lying to the public on their free will… is ridiculous.

The bottom line is – What politicians, athletes, celebrities, etc. do in their private sphere should be their own business. Until it effects or comes into their public sphere, it should be left alone. And no, i am not naive – i don’t think this will ever happen… but it is wishful thinking.

I do not know the complete truth of what Tiger did or did not do, but i’m sure i’ll find out soon – simply by opening a newspaper or reading the news online. Why such things are “breaking news”, i will never understand.

Oh well, happy Wednesday everybody! Until another (and more intriguing) story breaks…


Gotta love technology… (sometimes).

So as i am currently sitting here deciding whether to start working on one of my papers, my lab report, or my presentation first… i figured i would rant a bit to release some of my frustration.

So throughout my whole college career, i have always typed all my notes in all my classes (it’s more efficient, organized, and legible)… and never have i had a problem… until today. As always, i was sitting in my class typing my notes away… and then attaching/emailing it to myself. But for some reason it didn’t attach in the email, the file became corrupt, and the backup was deleted… so i’m completely out of luck… and of course, it has a lot of stuff i needed for my final for that class.

The thing is that in this class (cognition lab) we are all sitting at our own computers, so i don’t use my own laptop in this class only… so i couldn’t even do a system restore to try and attempt to get back the file! how frustrating!!!

But then again, i don’t know what i would have done with my laptop as i typed up FORTY-TWO typed pages of outlined notes for one of my classes in the span of two days this past weekend. My hands were killing me typing that much, so if i had to resort to writing it all out… i probably would have never even done it.

Or for the millions of other papers i’ve written. Or without my cell phone (for texting, especially). Or without wireless internet (or internet just in general).

Twitter – the new facebook

Is it just me… or did twitter suddenly become really big this week (for news reporters)?

It seems as if all the journalists on the major news channels (at least the ones i watch most often) have joined it this weekend and keep talking about it on their shows. It’ll be interesting to see in the next couple of weeks. Even though I’ve been using it for a while now, I’m not sure yet of all the terminology (I think a person who uses twitter is a “tweep”, and the message is a “tweet”… they sound like insults :/), but so far i like getting all of my news updates all at one place. So far, not many people i know personally have joined in on twitter, so for now it’s just a news source.. and it’ll be interesting to see twitter grow as more and more people join.

It’ll be interesting to see if twitter becomes as big as facebook.. or even bigger (it has definite potential).

For those of you who are beginners at twitter, here are some tips to start you off:

1. Shrink Your URLs
Since you only have 140 characters to work with, instead of sharing a long URL, use one of several URL-shortening services to shrink that link, like tinyurl.com.

2. RT = Retweet
To copy and paste someone else’s tweet, just put “RT @name” in front of their tweet and post it yourself so you give the original tweeter/tweep(?) credit for it as well.

3. @ Sign
To reply or someone on Twitter, place an @ sign in front of their Twitter name at the beginning of the message.