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VENICE BEACH, California -- Twitter turned 8 on Friday -- can you imagine life without 140 characters and short updates on what's going for you?

Maybe in San Francisco or Brooklyn, but out here on the beach, many folks we spoke to were pretty blase about the service known for short bursts of thoughts at 140 characters max.

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"Never use it," said Liz Yuricek of Los Angeles. "I Instagram."

But student Mary Coffelt begs to differ. "I feel I grew up with Twitter," says the Tucson resident. "So my child is getting old."

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In the beginning, Coffelt says, "I thought I wasn't cool enough to have Twitter, and that it was just for celebrities," she says. "But I like that it's more controlled than Facebook. People go on rants on Facebook."

She likes to tweet out random thoughts -- "Exam week diet trumps spring break diet," she's tweeted, or "You couldn't find My Mind in the library book directory because it's checked out."

Lindsey Lisse from Chicago insists that she never reads Twitter -- unless it's "something controversial," that gets touted on Facebook, like the feud between rapper Kanye West and talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel.

She did get mentioned in a tweet once -- she did hair and makeup for former American Idol contestant Pia Toscano, and even retweeted it. "That was cool," she says. "But I got no followers out of it, so that was it."

Yet Michael Miller of Los Angeles goes to Twitter every day, looking for announcements about deals.

A local food truck tweets where it will be, and he responds by going to pick up free samples. "That's very useful," he says.

Could he imagine life without Twitter. "Sure," he says. "But it would be less of a life. I do appreciate Twitter."

Readers: How do you feel about Twitter turning 8? Has it enriched your life? Could you live without it? Let's chat about it on Twitter, where I'm @JeffersonGraham.

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