I've become quite tired of the whole "Twitter Phenomenon" apparently sweeping the nation. It seems that now every politician, celebrity, and millions of regular people are "twittering" their heads off all day long.in 140 character bursts of banality, but honestly, to what end? Mind you, I'm one of those people who had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the cell phone age (and only for work purposes) ... but don't get me wrong, I'm not a Luddite, really! I was a very early adopter of most computer technology (way back in 1984) and have been amazed at how far we have come in terms of how computers can enhance and improve our daily lives. After all, I blog!
But this "Twitter Mania" is getting a little out of hand, and I view it much the same way I do the texting phenomenon -- as a supreme waste of time and effort. What's the attraction, really, of punching a tiny keyboard on a cell phone or Blackberry to send telegraphic, poorly spelled message bursts? Haven't these people ever heard of Instant Messaging Clients? I used to be a huge fan of IMing and spent many hours conversing with people from all over the world, and until I finally tired of it (or lost track of people), it was a great little technology, and still is. Hey TwitterHeads, a lot of those work on cell phones too ... so why the Twittering? As the French would say, Cela me dépasse totalement! (It's just totally beyond me!)
My entire life I've been one to avoid passing fads of all kinds, so I suppose that has something to do with it. I was a born curmudgeon and as I've gotten older, I've mellowed a lot, but still have to lash out from time to time, and coming across this amusing video from Current TV (Al Gore's channel) tonight finally made me speak up here on this subject, on my own personal creaky soapbox. (h/t to dday posting at Political Animal tonight) Take a look at this very funny cartoon (it's about 4 min long) and you can see why I decided to post it (btw, I'd be the guy in the cube on the left) ... so I wonder if this means that even the techie twenties types are starting to tire of it as well? If so, I commend them for their good sense! Anyway, click the image to watch the video....
As for my own "TwitterPhobia," I suppose I could follow my own usual advice about such things and just say ignore it all, but it's becoming increasingly harder to do that when even the regular news and politics programs I watch are featuring a "Tweet" segment (please, David Shuster, give it up! I like you dude!) and now we're seeing it pop up in such ridiculous venues as a "Twitter Interview" with John McCain ... come on! Not that I really expect anything approaching legitimate substance from the likes of him, but the whole concept is beyond weird ... it's just plain absurd.
Then there's the whole issue of the identity of the "Twitterers" ... Keith Olbermann did a piece last week on Countdown where he revealed that someone is impersonating him on Twitter and has several thousand followers (or whatever they're called). Who's to say whose "Tweets" you are really reading? Are John McCain's really posted by some staffer? (I think that might be a good bet, given that last fall he didn't know how to "Google.") Are you really privy to Paris Hilton's intimate (vacuous) thoughts? In many ways, it's an outgrowth of Instant Messaging, only more truncated ... that "HotChickDoubleD21" at the other end could well be a middle-aged, cross-dressing fat dude for all you know, so it's all a leap of possibly misguided faith after all. Caveat emptor.
Is this what communication has come down to in this brave new world of 2009? Besides the dumbing down and ruding up of people caused by cell phones over the last decade, we've gone one step further and completely reduced meaningful communication to "Tweets?" Twittering is for the birds -- literally. And should you ever hear any twittering on this blog, it will be that of the birds!
Disclaimer and an advance apology to a good blogging buddy:
I spent many years of my life mastering several languages and have the advanced degrees to prove it, so this is part of my resistance to technologies that I think "dumb down" language usage. During the numerous years I taught at the university level, I was appalled at how little regard students had for correct usage and spelling, considering it an unnecessary "nicety" of expressing themselves. Obviously, I disagreed and tried my best to convince them that how they expressed themselves in writing was indeed a demonstration of their intelligence, and with the advent of spell checkers (imperfect as they are) there was no excuse for misspelling basic words. As you might imagine, this led to much frustration, and ended up being one of the reasons I left the teaching profession, as much as I loved it. Rather than become bitter and totally disillusioned, I bailed ... for better or worse. (Well, yes, there were other reasons too, but this would have gotten to me eventually.) So there, sorry about the rant, but this little cartoon gave me hope that others out there feel similarly, so you can blame Super News for this post!
And now for the apology ... my good buddy FARFetched has had a Twitter feed on his blog for over a year or so now, and by no means do I direct any of this criticism his way, because obviously he finds some value in it, and after all, he's much more of an early adopter than I am, something I admire greatly in him. Maybe he can convince me that I'm just being grumpy about this subject....