Thanksgiving on Twitter: gratitude in 140 characters

Thanksgiving tweets are rolling in on Twitter, pondering recipes and giving thanks. But is tweeting while dining now OK?

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

It's bound to happen: the tweet sent from the Thanksgiving table.

In 140 characters or less, a Twitterer somewhere at some holiday gathering will slyly thumb out a message on their mobile phone – quipping about canned cranberry sauce or dishing about a celebration gone awry – and commit one of the great tech faux pas: texting while dining.

Thanksgiving tweets are already rolling in on Twitter, the popular micro-blogging tool that has around 18 million users in the US. In fact, Josh Premuda, a Web consultant, helped develop TurkeyTwitter.com to aggregate Thanksgiving Twitter chatter.

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"We were curious about what people are thankful for this year and thought it'd be fun to use Twitter to aggregate the different things people appreciated," said Mr. Premuda in an e-mail response to questions.

By Wednesday afternoon, his site had logged 18,407 pre-holiday tweets.

Most users were giving thanks. "What we're seeing is family, food, health as some of the big 'thanks,' " he said.

Sarah Palin is thankful for the Constitution: "Much 2 b thankful 4 as Americans, most free people on earth! More opportunity 4 happiness/health/prosperity thx to our liberating Constitution."

There's also been quite a bit of commentary on what will be showing up on the table Thursday. Twitterer Pennylove wondered, "Are people still eating chitterlings?"

Chef Mark Tafoya was using his Twitter page to offer cooking tips: "Everyone tells you to use chicken broth in your stuffing, but remember to use low-sodium broth! That way, YOU control the salt."

But what about tweeting on Turkey Day? Does Premuda condone tweeting while eating?

"I hadn't really considered people eating and tweeting – I hope they don't. Maybe we [should] schedule time to tweet thanks before or after the meal," he said.

To those who've weighed in on the ever-evolving subject of technology manners, such a tweet would fly in the face of proper "tweetiquette."

A tweet is not exactly a text. But the two are close relatives – especially when tweets are sent from mobile phones – and this is what PC World had to say about texting etiquette:

"It is not necessarily rude to text while you're in the presence of others – if the point of the text message is to involve the recipient in the physical gathering. On the other hand, communicating extensively via text when you should be fully engaged in what's going on in the real world will surely annoy those around you."

Techcrunch is pleading with Thanksgiving Twitterers to offer something unique amid the white noise of holiday shout-outs.

"But please, be creative. This is not just another social media marketing opportunity and it's not the Oscars. ('I am thankful for all my followers' is an actual Tweet)."

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Don't tweet during dinner, but do follow us on Twitter.

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