Joetopia is now on Twitter

jtarica@thetribunenews.comFebruary 16, 2013 

It’s a brave new world this week in Joetopia. Not here in print, but online, where I’m broadening the potential for snarkiness into the untamed and unlimited realm of Twitter.

I know, I’m a few years late to this game.

To be honest, I’ve kind of been holding out purposefully, waiting to see whether Twitter would go the way of Myspace (banished to social media purgatory) or Facebook (continuing to inexorably conquer the world one friend at a time).

Because it appears to be the latter, I can no longer resist the imperative to lob online literary grenades in 140 characters or fewer.

On its face, that space restriction does run counter to my normal modus operandi, which requires a good 700 or 800 words to sufficiently drum home my point.

Really, just how well can I infuriate you in one measly chopped-up sentence?

So that’s another reason the Twitter universe didn’t immediately appeal to me.

But in the past couple of weeks, we’ve been doing a little training here at The Tribune, under the guidance of sports reporter and resident social media expert J.D. Scroggin, who’s quite the tweeting celebrity if you didn’t know. (Follow him at @slocollegebeat.)

He’s busting out live gamecasts, videos, audio interviews and more in an effort to provide the very best coverage of San Luis Obispo County’s college sports scene.

If you’re a fan and want to know the latest news on Cal Poly or Cuesta College athletics, check him out online.

You can also follow the newspaper’s primary Twitter feed at @SLOTribune. It’s a good way to keep track of general breaking news developments. Beyond that, we have several other reporters and editors who tweet regularly on their particular beats or specialties. You can find a full list at twitter.com/SLOTribune/trib-staff/members.

It really is probably the quickest way to find out what’s happening in our area.

For example, reporter Tonya Strickland tweeted live from Cuesta College on Thursday, breaking the story that the school had retained its accreditation.

On Tuesday, Cynthia Lambert tweeted from a meeting of the South County Sanitation District board.

After our training session, I was warming to the idea of Twitter but still a little skeptical.

That’s when a co-worker pointed out that it actually would make a very suitable medium for Joetopia’s evolution because at any time throughout the day, I’m prone to mouthing off about one thing or another, with only the newsroom as my audience. (Sorry, guys!)

Thinking about it, she’s right. I come across little tidbits worthy of high-pitched disdain all the time.

They may not merit a full column, but that doesn’t mean they should pass by unmentioned.

Speaking of dirty work, as I write this, CNN is following the minute-by-minute account of that stricken Carnival cruise ship, which has been reduced to a floating repository of human waste. They just showed a photo of a bucket filled with you-know-what, hanging over the side.

As Kenny Bania used to say on “Seinfeld,” “That’s gold, Jerry, gold!’

Or if not gold, at least worthy of a quip or two. It’s a messy job, but somebody’s got to do it.

So I’m going to embrace this tool.

If you’re on Twitter, I invite you to follow along and, even more so, join in.

If you’ve ever emailed me, you know I try to reply. Even if you think I’m the biggest idiot from here to the Carrizo Plain, I do welcome the chance to chat with readers.

This is just a new way to broaden the conversation. Follow me via @joetarica.

Joe Tarica is the presentation editor for The Tribune. Reach him at jtarica@the tribunenews.com.

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