UCLA is beginning to Twitter, reports the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin. On campus, the BruinAlert system, the Daily Bruin, the UCLA newsroom, and several student clubs all recently began their own Twitter feeds. The new social-networking web site is similar to limited blogging, as it allows users to post what they are doing in a maximum of 140 characters. Senders can restrict the delivery of updates to those in their circle of friends and family, who can "follow" their feed to get updates on daily activities. Even President Barack Obama, Britney Spears, and Lance Armstrong have started "tweeting." Local governments, news stations, and emergency management centers now have their own Twitter feeds, too. In fact, some of the first pictures of last week’s Hudson River plane crash were put up on Twitter by users who had witnessed the crash, according to various news reports. The UCLA Emergency Center began researching the idea of utilizing Twitter after UCLA student Sarah Cohen suggested the popular networking source as an additional medium for BruinAlert, said David Burns, the Certified Emergency Manager for UCLA. It took the Emergency Center about six months to evaluate Twitter as a resource. "It was necessary to go in cautiously to make sure it would be a safe and effective medium in emergency situations," Burns said. While joining Twitter in an effort to engage students, Burns said officials hoped it also would be a way to reach out to parents and family members of UCLA students. "Only affiliated students, faculty and staff can follow the BruinAlert text messaging, so Twitter is a way for parents to feel connected and informed," Burns said…

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