Are you one of those people who holds your hand up in avoidance mode when someone brings up Twitter or Facebook? Do you admit to not spending a lot of time on the computer but only using it for email once in a while if at all? Do you think that it’s mostly for chattering teens who are surely killing off any potential they might have had? Do you see it as the enemy, a force that is wrecking our otherwise pristine status quo? Not to be rude but perhaps it’s time you opened yourself up to these other dimensions.Recently, I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the chaperones on my daughter’s 5th grade class field trip to Washington, D.C. The way the trip was set up forbid children from bringing cell phones (yes most of these eleven year-olds own them) and allowed only the old fashioned phone tree as a way of communication with worried parents back home. Each child was allowed two calls home during the week we were away.But if you happened to be a parent who was not afraid of Twitter and you happened to follow my Twitter account (AwardsDaily, by the way)? you would have gotten important updates on our travel itinerary. It isn’t just for reassurance, although it works very well for that, it is also so that followers can get a sense of real time activities. I tried to keep it very specific to what we were doing and where we were going and tried to leave emotion out of it. Can you imagine if one of the tweets said “Children are homesick and crying. We’re trying to cheer them up but nothing is working.” It was more like “Landed in Philly. Here come the cheesesteaks.” And anyway, the children weren’t crying. Just saying.Twitter is the best application, it turns out, for traveling. But there is no replacing Facebook for sharing photos and stories about one’s trip. Rather than uploading all of my photos to an online gallery (although I did that too – MobileMe and Flickr, if you must know), it was just as easy to share a few with all of my Facebook friends. That is, the ones who aren’t technophobes, which is the majority of the parents in the class. Either that or they just don’t want to friend me.We had one event occur that simply would not have been as enjoyable without the two online networks. Our class had the pleasure of meeting the Vice President. It was complete happenstance and a case of the right place at the right time. Our class had gone out a different exit out of the Capital and stumbled upon a Secret Service detail. We waited it out to see who would be so important they would require men with machine guns. A few moments later, out walks Joe Biden. He sees our kids standing across the street and they are jumping up and down and screaming. He decides to detour around his car and come over to say hello. Within minutes he was surrounded by fifth graders. He spoke to them, shook hands with them, and gave them sage advice about their futures.Well, Twitter announced it. Facebook spread the photos and one of the videos was even Youtubed and shared — all within a half of a day. Think about it and decide for yourself. On which end of the extra dimension would you like to be? We have the tools at our fingertips. Why not use them?
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