What can be said in 140 characters? A lot, apparently.
Thousands of people in Hoboken are communicating in 140-character blocs, including the mayor, a couple calling themselves “TheBoken,” and the Cake Boss.
Twitter is a website that allows users to send out small updates on their activities in 140-character increments. One can read the updates via the Twitter website or via text messages sent to their cell phone.
To read the Hoboken Reporter’s updates, one would go to twitter.com/hobokenreporter and read the page, or sign up to have updates sent to their phone.
“Just did my first marriage ceremony this morning was just as nervous as my wedding day,” Mayor Peter Cammarano “tweeted” to his followers recently.
Critics point out the banality of reading daily at-the-moment updates, but Twitter’s reputation rose to new levels when Iranian protestors used the site to communicate during their recent bloody election fallout.
Like it or not, Twitter is a tool of the 21st century, and Hoboken is no exception.
Jerry Lore, a clerk at City Hall, runs the city’s Twitter account that updates followers about news, events, and other goings-on. To read the updates, one can simply go to twitter.com/CityofHoboken.
Lore was busy during the mayoral election. “According to Hoboken City Clerk James Farina, the provisional ballots need to be tallied up before it is official to announce anything yet,” he posted to awaiting news-thirsty Hobokenites.
Lore said that the day US Airways Flight 1549 gently landed on the Hudson River, it was a Twitter user on a ferry that provided the first image.
Businesses, bars, and restaurants are all represented, as are other organizations like the Jubilee Center, which provides lunches and activities for kids in the projects.
The website WeFollow.com lists over 7,000 followers of Hoboken-based Twitter pages, an underestimation considering that this only includes the Twitter pages that submit to the WeFollow website.
Mr. and Mrs. “TheBoken” have met new friends through their popular tweets.
“A lot of people starting asking us questions,” Brian said. “Random people moving here would ask for recommendations. At first it was funny, but now we take it seriously.”
Brain said the site helps to initiate conversations and can lead to relationships and friendships off-line, like the one he forged with Adam Lazzaro, better known as “HobokenSnoop.”
Lazzaro has a personal Twitter page, but in Hoboken his dog is more widely known than he is. “HobokenSnoop” is positioned as a Twitter page from the point of view of Lazzaro’s half-Jack Russell, half-Pit bull dog Snoop.
Take, for instance, his June 27 tweet: “Taking my human for a walk to the new Maxwell Place Park!”
“He got so much attention walking down the street, I figured, why not?” said the Atlanta native. He said the “niche community” on Twitter provides bits of information that can fall through the cracks otherwise.
He and the couple from “TheBoken” met through the social networking site and are now teaming up to start a new user-driven restaurant review website.
Twitter as a tool
“TheBoken” said they joined the Twitter brigade during the May mayoral election, just as Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer was starting to harvest the power of tweets.
Cammarano wasn’t far behind.
“It’s not e-mail; it’s not instant messaging,” Cammarano said. “You reserve it for those things that are notable.”
He said the benefit of using the service is to engage your audience, a la Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has almost 400,000 Twitter followers – far eclipsing Cammarano’s 166.
“Cory is the gold standard. I want to be Cory when I grow up, on Twitter,” he joked.
Booker’s followers even surpass Gov. Jon Corzine’s 1,222, but not Pres. Barack Obama’s 1.7 million.
Hoboken Arts and the Hoboken Harriers running club, among others, are on Twitter notifying people of a whole variety of events and happenings. PATH updates are available too.
People have found other uses for Twitter, like information feeds for the opening and closings of bridges, updates from a NASA space rover on Mars, and even cries from thirsty plants. That’s right; there is a system that can monitor water levels in houseplants and send you a Tweet when the plant is thirsty.
Celebrities like P Diddy and Shaq love Twitter too, and locally you can find Buddy Valastro from Carlo’s Bakery on Twitter as “TheCakeBoss.” Thanks to Twitter, everyone is behind the scenes with the new television star.
“Ahhh just got death by chocolate all over my new shirt,” he wrote recently. “….I need some SHOOOUT!”
Timothy J. Carroll may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch our Tweets at http://twitter.com/hobokenreporter.